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No. 136: JUL-AUG 2001

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Mirror Matter May Matter

Mirror Matter, if it exists, would be difficult to detect because it does not emit radiation to betray its presence. It interacts with Normal Matter (us and our instruments) only through its gravitational pull. The Mirror-Matter concept has been around since the 1950s because physicists needed (and still need) "something" that balances the universe -- which if you haven't noticed is asymmetrical. To illustrate this cosmic "deformity," note that Normal-Matter neutrinos always spin in the same direction, when half should spin one way and half the other way if the universe is symmetrical. However, the existence of Mirror-Matter neutrinos spinning the other way would redress things, making the universe "perfect" -- at least as far as human aesthetics are concerned. (Other entities might yearn for asymmetry, who knows?)

Anyway, Mirror Matter is defined as being palpable and could also be that "missing mass" or "dark matter" that astronomers need to explain why spinning galaxies do not fly apart. Mirror Matter could also account for some mysterious terrestrial phenomena such as that unaccountable lack of a significant crater in Siberia, where the 1908 Tunguska blast leveled a huge forest but hardly disturbed the ground.

Recently, Mirror Matter has been invoked to explain the ups and downs of terrestrial biodiversity. R. Foot and Z. Silagadze propose that the 26-millionyear periodicity in terrestrial extinctions -- claimed to be present in the fossil record -- is due to a solar-system planet made of Mirror Matter (and therefore invisible). This postulated planet has a period of 26-million years and regularly gravitationally jostles the Oort Cloud of comets on the periphery of the solar system. These jolts unleash torrents of devastating comets upon the inner solar system every 26-million years, thereby blasting the earth and its sensitive biological cargo.

This supposed Mirror-Matter planet happens to be the conceptual double of a Normal-Matter, hypothetical planet named Nemesis, which was proposed in the 1980s to account for the same periodical extinctions in the fossil record. However, diligent searches did not locate Nemesis. Of course, if Nemesis were made of Mirror Matter, as now proposed, it would have escaped telescopic detection then and would still elude our telescopes today!

(Schilling, Govert; "Through the Looking Glass," New Scientist, p. 16, April 28, 2001.)

Comment. Not only is a crater missing at the Tunguska site, but no one has been able to positively identify the immense impact crater that we suppose must have been excavated when untold numbers of tektites rained down upon Australia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean about 800,000 years ago. See item under GEOLOGY.

From Science Frontiers #136, JUL-AUG 2001. � 2001 William R. Corliss

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