Fermi telescope may change its mission to 'dark matter' hunting
The Fermi space telescope may help solve one of physics' greatest mysteries - "dark matter".
The telescope, which was designed to catch gamma rays, has seen hints of evidence for dark matter in high-energy gamma rays seen at the galaxy's centre.
Julie McEnery, project scientist for the Fermi mission, said on the BBC World Service programme Science in Action that a deepening dark matter mystery has sparked the call for proposals to change the telescope's mission.
Fermi has been a tremendous success at examining some of the most high-energy processes in the cosmos, publishing a catalogue filled with details of the spinning neutron stars known as pulsars, and a wide array of "active galactic nuclei" - probably supermassive black holes.
The most popular theory holds that dark matter is made up of relatively heavy particles which, when they encounter one another, "annihilate" with a flash of light that the Fermi telescope can see.
Dr McEnery is confident that the Fermi mission will lead to evidence for dark matter.
In addition, a range of experiments on Earth, deep beneath the surface, are aiming to detect dark matter more directly by catching its rare interactions with normal matter.