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Strong hints of dark matter detected by space station, physicists say

Dark matterPhysicists announced on Wednesday that they have discovered the most convincing evidence yet of the existence of dark matter – the particles that are thought to make up a quarter of the universe but whose presence has never been confirmed.

Members of an international team gathered at Nasa in Washington and Cern in Switzerland to report their findings, which come from a $2bn particle detector mounted to the International Space Station.

The detector, which weighs nearly seven tons, is called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), and was installed on the space station in May 2011.

Since then, physicists have been sifting through its data for hints of dark matter, which has puzzled researchers for decades, and does not interact with light – hence the moniker "dark". For almost a century, physicists have been searching for the mysterious particles, and the latest findings brought them a tantalizing step closer.

Nobel laureate and project leader, Dr Sam Ting of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said he expects a more definitive answer in a matter of months. "There is no question we're going to solve this problem," he said, speaking from Cern.

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