Scientists, using AI to help them build a map, have discovered a dark matter skeleton that appears to consist of hidden ‘bridges’ between galaxies.
The questions are ‘what is it’ and ‘what is it for?’
The scientists believe they can use the new map to run simulations that will give them amazing insights into the history of the universe, answers about dark matter itself and a roadmap of where the local universe is going over the next little while (a couple of billion years or so).
All of which sounds very grown up, sensible and smells slightly of white lab coats and clipboards.
What if, though, there is more to these dark skeletons than meets the AI?
They connect galaxies. So, are they holding them together to stop them spinning off into some roiling chaos or something else?
If you look at these dark matter skeletons, they look like something else that we are about to become familiar with.
What if (and apologies, this is more tin foil hat than white lab coat) they are intergalactic highways? We have wondered how aliens travel across the vast empty spaces of the universe (assuming they do, which we do); why not via a series of interconnected hyperloops?
Right now, the biggest revolution in terrestrial travel is the Hyperloop. This method of travel involves pods that can ‘travel at 750 miles an hour through magnetic, vacuum tubes, using magnetic levitation’ – so no diesel then.
Of course, the other thing we are now close to is commercial space travel, which is also pretty exciting. Almost as exciting as the idea that we are about to throw Jeff Bezos into space, willingly. It seems a good place for him, to be fair.
Several years ago, the concept of normal people travelling at 750 miles an hour was a pipe dream. Several years ago, the concept of commercial space travel was an idea on a drawing board, as was any concept of a dark matter skeleton somehow connecting galaxies.
Science fact seems to follow science fiction in a slightly spooky way. We invent things that turn out like things our imaginations invented in the past. Just because we couldn’t ‘see’ these dark matter skeletons does not mean they were not part of our subconscious.
And people with extraordinary vision built a terrestrial hyperloop, based, perhaps, on the intergalactic hyperloop network that was already out there.
It is certainly a crazy idea, but these dark matter skeletons (or highways) might explain how alien civilisations get around the pedestrian speeds that light travels at.