China launches dark matter detecting satellite into orbit

December 18, 2015 by Bob Yirka weblog

China has successfully placed a satellite called the Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) into a sun-synchronous orbit around the Earth. Its mission is to study high-energy particles and γ-rays as part of an overall objective to learn more about dark matter. The satellite was boosted into the sky by a Chinese Long March 2D rocket, launched from a northwest province in China.

The , nicknamed "Wukong" (Monkey King) by the Chinese public is part of a collaborative effort between China's Academy of Sciences, several academic institutions in Italy, and the University of Geneva—its launch marks a major advance for the country into the study of space science, from space. The satellite has four sensors onboard: a BGO calorimeter, a silicon-Tungsten Tracker a neutron detector and a plastic scintillator detector. Each is part of the overall goal to capture high energy particles and then to trace them back to their origin, which the team believes would be collisions. The sensors have been designed to detect photons and electrons with a higher resolution than can be found by testers residing in underground sensor facilities or the AMS aboard the International Space Station. Tracking dark matter back to its source, the team believes, should shed some light on dark matter itself, which continues to defy observation despite many efforts across the globe. One focused mission by the team working with data from DAMPE will be to see if the new satellite can be used to reveal the source of signals seen by AMS, such as if they are caused by pulsars or collisions.

The DAMPE mission is the first of five the Chinese have developed—two more will take place next year–one of which is being billed as the first quantum-communications satellite (its purpose is to see if photons sent from ground stations to the satellite can continue to be entangled with their Earthbound counterparts, which, if so, could eventually lead to a quantum network.) The other mission will have the Chinese sending an X-ray telescope into orbit with unique energy band sensing capabilities—it will be used mostly to study radiation emitted from black holes. Director of the National Space Science Center, Wu Ji, told the press that the country is embarking on the new missions to seek further progress in the field.

Explore further: New theory—If we want to detect dark matter we might need a different approach

More information:

Related Stories

Dark matter and particle acceleration in near space

November 9, 2015

Peering into darkness can strike fear into the hearts of some, but a new space telescope will soon peer into the darkness of "near space" (within a few thousand light years of Earth). Scientists are using the telescope to ...

Euclid dark universe mission ready to take shape

December 17, 2015

Euclid, ESA's dark universe mission, has passed its preliminary design review, providing confidence that the spacecraft and its payload can be built. It's time to start 'cutting metal'.

How we plan to bring dark matter to light

September 17, 2015

Long before we had the atomic theory of matter, scientists knew the air was real, even though it was invisible. This was because we could see its action as the wind caressed the leaves in trees.

China launches Turkish satellite

December 18, 2012

China early Wednesday "successfully" launched a Turkish earth observation satellite into orbit aboard a Chinese rocket, according to state media, hailed in Turkey as a "historic moment".

China's PandaX WIMP detector set to begin operations soon

January 31, 2014

( —China's PandaX Dark Matter Experiment is in final preparations to begin operating sometime early this year, representatives for the project have told the press. Its mission is to capture evidence of a Weakly ...

Recommended for you

Scientists improve brown dwarf weather forecasts

August 18, 2017

Dim objects called brown dwarfs, less massive than the sun but more massive than Jupiter, have powerful winds and clouds–specifically, hot patchy clouds made of iron droplets and silicate dust. Scientists recently realized ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

4.1 / 5 (9) Dec 18, 2015
And the Handsome Monkey King did ascend to Heaven and steal the apples of immortality from the Great Kai of Heaven.

Great name, great probe, great science.

I wonder if China has moon-howlers, and what the term for them is?
4.5 / 5 (8) Dec 18, 2015
Good hunting, guys ! The proliferation of hypothetical candidates needs some serious culling with actual data...
Captain Stumpy
4.6 / 5 (9) Dec 18, 2015
I wonder if China has moon-howlers, and what the term for them is?
it would be

Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (7) Dec 19, 2015
Is that from left to right or vice versa...?
3 / 5 (6) Dec 19, 2015
Meanwhile, back on Earth:


The LHC seems to be doing its job.
2 / 5 (4) Dec 19, 2015
My personal note of interest is how china is going after the central real/crap dividing line in the given thrust of modern western scientific endeavor.

Essentially...Whether the western scientific establishment (and I do mean and imply 'establishment' [enforced/sanctioned science and theory]) is doing honest work ---or trying to blow smoke up everyone's ass.

With a total of (at least) a few trillion dollars (over the past 70 years) (2.2 trillion alone in 2001, as reported by Donald Rumsfeld!) thrown into corporate military black ops science and technology, which puts them a good 500 to 1000 years ahead of public science (not one word of a lie, look it up), we are left wondering where the truth is and the fakery (misdirect) begins.

I await your negative ratings, with no emotion.

We need truth, not reactive issues with your emotions.
Steve 200mph Cruiz
5 / 5 (6) Dec 20, 2015
do you think China isn't doing the exact same thing?

The government also does not have 1000 year advanced technology.
The government is only capable of so much, if you think the government is capable of anything, why are you a conservative?
3 / 5 (6) Dec 20, 2015
Conservatives would get dizzy if they tried to walk a straight line where China is concerned, 333kph Steve. They complain that "they're taking our jobs" then put on the tinfoil and start howling about wasted research dollars. They never notice that they're "taking our jobs" because they don't let lunatics drive the science budget. Then they find something, the deniers have to deny it, which widens the gap...and so the cycle continues ad nauseam.
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 20, 2015
Captain Stumpy4.5 / 5 (8) Dec 18, 2015
I wonder if China has moon-howlers, and what the term for them is?

it would be

Hey troll baiting addict, bit of a double standard with "talking dog shit", don't you think? It was specifically asked, vis a vis people on here that not only argue, but greet the trolls, "When you go out in the morning and see a pile of dog shit, do you greet it?" and you voted that down. Now you're ripping it off directly with "talking dog shit". Which way is it?

Yeah, I'm just as bad, trying to argue with an addict.
Steve 200mph Cruiz
5 / 5 (4) Dec 20, 2015
I get what you're saying whopper, but I wouldn't exactly call China "a scientifically enlightened" nation either, especially in terms of ecology, biology, and just general health.
Just look how rich Chinese are spending their newly found wealth: name brand crap that they stereotype Americans as liking, and endangered animal parts to make trinkets and witch doctor medicine from.
They are destroying their coral reefs as we speak, where their food goes to spawn, just to grab large clam shells. Their entire economy is dedicated to destroying their future livelihood
3 / 5 (2) Dec 24, 2015
Google translate of the Chinese stuff above :
"Stupid fucking idiot delusion uneducated talking dog feces and refuse to understand reality"

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.