​Dark matter mine study comes to Australia

A Victorian gold mine is the latest former mining operation to be used to study dark matter.

The mine, in Stawell, is being used to find out more about dark matter, a substance that is understood to make up nearly 90% of the universe but is virtually still a theory, according to the ABC.

The mine is not the first to be used for these studies.

In 2012 scientists in the US carried out similar research, lowering dark matter detectors more than one and a half kilometres under the surface in a South Dakota gold mine.

The instrument was also placed inside a large water tank and it’s hoped both measures will shroud it in enough insulation to isolate dark matter that would be undetectable on the surface due to cosmic rays.

If the test, known as the Large Underground Xenon experiment, goes to plan the data could be used to answer age-old questions about the universe and its origins.

Scientists at the University of California have been working on the experiment for close to a decade.

Closer to home the international team of scientists hope to uncover similar information.

"You want to be able to track the dark matter over a period of time and in different regions of the world because you would see it differently and be able to distinguish dark matter from the background," Harvard University particle physicist professor Lisa Randall told the ABC.

"Doing a complimentary experiment here in the southern hemisphere would be an extremely exciting development."

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