On December 17, 2015 ago, China launched the Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) satellite into space from the Jiuquan launch center in the middle of the Gobi Desert.
DAMPE also called Wukong or 'Monkey King' - Monkey King is the main character in the story of Journey to the West, who have powers to protect the monk Tong on his journey to India to get scripture or the Buddhist sutras. Literally 'Wu' means understanding, while 'Kong' means sky.
|China's Wukong dark matter probe blasts off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert on December 17, 2015, opening a new era of Chinese space science. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1XkXvI)|
"So, Wukong is a satellite whose mission is to 'understanding the sky'," that's according to the National Space Science Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), as quoted by Xinhua on Thursday, February 11, 2016.
The satellite, which has a length of 1.5 meters, 1.2 meters high and weighs 1.9 tons was launched into sun synchronous orbit, at an altitude of 500 kilometers of the Earth's surface.
|With the new DAMPE satellite, scientists will look for evidences of dark matter annihilation or decay. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1XkYSK)|
The satellite launched using a Long March 2D rocket, and the DAMPE or Wukong mission to explore the darkness in the universe. Or, to be exact, to investigate the dark matter.
Dark matter is invisible material, not identified, also was detected, which is believed to be the majority of the material universe. It formed when the universe was created billions of years ago, in a large explosion or Big Bang. Although not able to detect the instrument, but its presence can be proved from the gravitational effects of these materials.
Dark matter is the first time the unwitting by Swiss astrophysicist named Frits Zwicky, who studied the motion of the galaxies in the Coma Galaxy Cluster members in the 1930s. He found that the matter which we can see is not enough to sustain the universe. Without this 'unseen matter,' galaxies will undoubtedly perish. He later coined the term 'dark matter'.
|The main scientific objective of DAMPE is to measure electrons and photons with much higher energy resolution and energy reach than achievable with existing space experiments in order to identify possible Dark Matter signatures. It has also great potential in advancing the understanding of the origin and propagation mechanism of high energy cosmic rays, as well as in new discoveries in high energy gamma astronomy. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1XkYSK)|
Such as the sharp-eyed Monkey King characters, the Wukong satellite has the most sensitive and accurate detectors, particularly related to dark matter.
"This is an exciting mission," says theoretical astrophysicist from Princeton University, David Spergel as quoted from the Science. He added, the DAMPE satellite had a chance to investigate dark matter annihilation products.
Launching of the DAMPE or Wukong considered to demonstrate the Chinese commitment related to scientific space missions. "DAMPE is China's first space missions related to astronomy and astrophysics," said Fan Yizhong, an astrophysicist at the CAS headquarter in Nanjing.
Meanwhile, Philipp Azzarello from the University of Geneva, Switzerland who collaborated in the design of the DAMPE detectors said, "We believe, the DAMPE will contribute to the search of dark matter."
Chang Jin, DAMPE's chief scientist and vice president of Purple Mountain Observatory said, Wukong has collected more than 100 million high-energy particles, including protons, alpha particles of cosmic rays, and nuclides.
Scientists will be looking for electrons and high-energy gamma rays - which may be the residue of the annihilation or decay of dark matter.
Chris Impey, a distinguished professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona said, though not know what the hell dark matter, scientists are aware of its existence. The nature of dark matter become one of the most fundamental questions for physicists and astrophysicists.
"That's why a strong interest in astronomy as practiced by the DAMPE mission that has the opportunity to uncover the mystery of dark matter or give us a clue about its nature. The stakes are very high. And, it is one of the unanswered questions both in the field of physics and astronomy." he said as quoted from the Gbtimes. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | XINHUA | GBTIMES]
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