(TMU) — Dark matter is without a doubt one of the greatest mysteries in modern science. Scientists have no idea what it is, and yet the enigmatic substance constitutes 85% of the known universe, roughly 6 times more than the everyday stuff that makes up the stars, planets, and physical matter around us.
Physicists have typically imagined that elementary particles that are yet to be discovered fill in the gravitational gap left behind by dark matter, but one group of researchers has presented an outlandish new theory positing that dark matter may actually be made up of a fairly small number of larger, densely packed macroscopic objects that do not emit light and that could potentially wound humans.
In an unpublished study entitled “Death by Dark Matter” posted earlier this month to arXiv, three physicists argued that macroscopic accumulations of dark matter—which they call “macros”—could be jetting through the universe at 560,000 mph relative to our solar system.
Such objects, which would be virtually undetectable without sophisticated analytic technology, could upon impact leave behind painful wounds that would make victims “look like a Jedi knight has stabbed them with a lightsaber,” one researcher said. Another comparison described the hypothetical impacts as “dark matter bullets” that would tunnel holes through the body like red-hot plasma projectiles.
Lead researcher, doctoral candidate Jagjit Singh Sidhu, says that while the hypothesis is a long-shot and far from proven, dark matter macro objects could be “composite[s] of many, many particles…[and] possibly have masses up to the size of a small planet.” The reason we may not regularly see impacts with these objects is that they are relatively rare compared to the more pervasive, diffuse, and microscopic elementary particles of dark matter that we can only detect via its gravitational influence.
Most theories of dark matter center around these very small hypothetical elementary particles such as axions, weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) and sterile neutrinos, but Sidhu and Case Western Reserve professors Glenn Starkman and Ralph Harvey believe we must consider the possibility that dark matter, which is such a large part of the universe, could constitute larger objects that pose a fatal threat to humans. They proposed a way to detect evidence of macroscopic dark matter by searching for vaporization paths in ordinary granite countertops.
They also suggest mysterious wounds to humans could be evidence of dark matter impacts. Such impacts may end up being the most ideal dark matter detection device, the researchers suggest. An article in Futurism went even further by suggesting the discovery of such objects could someday present militaries around the world with the opportunity to weaponize dark matter.