Why most of our universe is still invisible

Strange stuff: Scientists think that 70% of the universe is dark energy and 25% dark matter.

Is the hunt for dark matter a waste of time? Scientists are building a telescope to search for this mysterious substance that makes up over 90% of the universe. It might unlock some secrets.

What’s happening

Did you know that scientists have no idea what 90% of the universe is made of? The atoms that we can see make up just 4% of all the stuff there is.

Most scientists think that the rest is made up of ‘dark matter’. We do not know exactly what dark matter is yet — but we want to find out.

Find out more

Scientists are building a telescope to learn more about dark matter. The telescope is called Euclid.

When it is launched in 2022, the Euclid telescope will search the cosmos for dark matter.

Although we cannot see it, we know that dark matter is there because it makes gravity behave strangely.

If scientists find it, the discovery could completely change how we understand the universe.

“We are shooting in the dark in every sense,” said Mauro Raggi, a dark matter scientist. “But if you are shooting, you at least have a chance.”

Is the hunt for dark matter a waste of time?

Some say…

Yes! We spend billions of pounds exploring space, but it does not change anything here on Earth. There are so many more important things we need to focus on, including people right here that need help.

Others think…

No! It is very exciting. Dark matter might teach us the secrets of the universe. Or perhaps knowing about it could be useful for all sorts of technology. It is natural to be curious about space and everything that is out there.

You Decide

  1. What do you think dark matter is?

Activities

  1. Draw the planets in our Solar System and label and colour them in. Share your drawing with your friends.

Some People Say...

“The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”

Eden Phillpots (1862-1960), English author

What do you think?

Word Watch

Universe
Everything that exists, including all the galaxies, stars and planets.
Atoms
Tiny particles that make up everything. Your body is made up of atoms. So is your classroom.
Dark matter
There is also dark energy, which we can’t see either.
Cosmos
Another word for the universe.
Gravity
The force that pulls objects down towards Earth.

Subjects

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