Jupiter missions could help search for dark matter

(ORDO NEWS) — In a recent study published in the Journal of High Energy Physics, two Brown University researchers demonstrated how data from past missions to Jupiter can help scientists study dark matter.

The reason why past Jupiter missions were chosen is due to the large amount of information obtained primarily from the Galileo and Juno orbiters.

In the study, the scientists discussed how captured electrons in Jupiter’s massive magnetic field and radiation belt can be used to study dark matter and the dark mediator.

They derived three scenarios for trapped electrons in Jupiter’s radiation belts: fully trapped, quasi-trapped, and untrapped electrons.

Their results showed that the recorded measurements from the Galileo and Juno missions indicate that the produced electrons can be completely captured or quasi-trapped in Jupiter’s inner radiation belts, which ultimately contributes to energetic electron fluxes.

One of the goals of this study was to make an initial effort to use data from the Jupiter missions to study new physics beyond the traditional model of particle physics.

Although the data for this study was collected during the multi-year missions of the Galileo and Juno orbiters to Jupiter, scientists do not believe that such a study can be carried out using data from other long-term missions to other planets, such as Saturn and its historic mission ” Cassini”.

“Firstly, Jupiter is much heavier than Saturn,” explains Dr. Lingfeng Li, research fellow at Brown University and author of the paper. “Its escape velocity is almost twice that of Saturn, which means that the dark matter capture rate is significantly faster on Jupiter.

In addition, Jupiter does not have a significant main ring, and electrons can linger for a long time before being absorbed.

Other celestial bodies in the solar system are simply too small (like the Earth). The sun is a very interesting target, but its magnetic field is quite non-trivial. We don’t yet know how to interpret the solar data, but it deserves further consideration.”

The article concludes with recommendations for new missions to Jupiter to broaden the scope of particle physics as well as provide more accurate measurements of the energetic electron fluxes discussed in this article.


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