MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) Satellite was launched Thursday morning atop the Long March 2-D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) in the Gobi desert, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Chinese First Dark Matter Particle Explorer(DAMPE) was launched at 00:12 UTC using Long March-2D launch vehicle pic.twitter.com/IKjtqYlYhF— JeffDing (@JeffDing_SH) 17 декабря 2015
Entering a heliosynchronous orbit at the height of 500 kilometers (311 miles), the satellite will observe space particle properties and search for signs of dark matter decay. Over a 100 scientists will study data gathered by the satellite, with the first results to be available by late 2016.
Dark matter does not emit electromagnetic radiation, and remains immune to direct observation. Astrophysicists have so far only observed gravitational effects of dark matter on cosmic objects, such as galaxies and galaxy clusters. Indirect observations include searching for excess gamma ray emissions, which may be the product weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP) decay. The theoretical WIMPs are thought to be the main component of dark matter.
Visible matter has been calculated to account for only 4.9 percent of the universe's matter and energy distribution, with dark matter accounting for 26.8 percent. The rest is accounted for by dark energy, am unknown form of energy permeating the entire universe.