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Mirror Matter And Interstellar Pioneers

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by Robert Foot
Melbourne - Aug 19, 2002
The interactions of the known elementary particles (such as the electron, proton etc) violate mirror reflection symmetry, yet respect just about every other plausible symmetry.

In a certain sense, the fundamental particles are left-handed. It has been known for a long time that this inbalance of nature can be repaired if mirror matter exists. Where the ordinary particles are left-handed the mirror particles are right-handed.

The mirror particles interact with the ordinary ones mainly via gravity and perhaps by some new types of interactions. While the theory does not have huge popularity, it is nevertheless a well-defined mathematical theory with implications for many fields including: particle physics, astrophysics, meteoritics and planetary science.

Over the last few years, a significant number of papers have been written on the theory by several scientists including: Nicole Bell, Sergei Blinnikov, Sergei Gninenko, Sasha Ignatiev, Saibal Mitra, Zurab Silagadze, Ray Volkas, T.L.Yoon etc. and some papers have been written by myself as well.

While nobody would argue that the existence of mirror matter has been 'proven' (yet!), the mirror matter theory nevertheless seems to provide an explanation for a large range of puzzles.

Some of these puzzles have alternative more 'standard' explanations, and some don't. In the cases where there are alternative standard explanations, the mirror matter alternative is put forward because it explains some features of the particular phenomena better or more simply than the more 'standard' explanation.

I will very briefly consider 6 puzzles below (4 with no known 'standard' explanation and 2 with standard explanations, but where mirror matter seems to offer a better alternative).

Some Puzzles With No 'standard' Explanation

  1. Evidence for the existence of exotic dark matter in galaxies. There is no known explanation involving standard physics. Mirror matter is one possible explanation which seems to explain dark matter very well because mirror matter is necessarily stable and dark. [Of course, mirror matter is not the only possible explanation for dark matter involving non-standard physics, other explanations include hypothetical WIMPS, modification of the gravitational law, etc.].

  2. Orthopositronium lifetime puzzle. The lifetime of orthopositronium - a short lived bound state consisting of an electron and positron - is about 0.1 percent shorter than predicted by standard physics.

    It turns out that this can be explained by a small force coupling ordinary and mirror particles together. At the present time there is no other known explanation of the experiments.

    Of course, this does not mean that mirror matter necessarily exists because the experiments may be wrong or there could be some other possible explanation which has yet to be proposed.

  3. Jordan-type events. Small events which take the appearance of a low-altitude fireball, sometimes observed to strike the ground, yet leaving no meteorite fragments behind.

    Mirror matter offers a simple explanation for these events. [There are well-known extreme problems with an ordinary matter explanation. For example, small bodies which enter the Earth's atmosphere must lose their cosmic velocity due to the air resistance, leading to a low impact velocity at the Earth's surface of only a few hundred meters per second; far too low to vaporize the body on impact.]

  4. Pioneer spacecraft anomalies. The two Pioneer spacecraft are mysteriously slowing down faster than expected. Extensive studies have been unable to find any standard explanation.

    Mirror matter can simply explain the slow-down as a type of drag force caused by remnant mirror hydrogen gas in the solar system.

    Some puzzles with a possible standard explanation, but where mirror matter seems to offer a better/simpler alternative explanation.

  5. The Tunguska event. It is widely recognized that the flattening of the Siberian forest in 1908 was caused by a low altitude atmospheric explosion. However, the cause of the explosion is not so clear. Many scientists believe that the explosion was caused by an asteroid breaking up in the atmosphere. The main puzzle here is why there is no significant fragments or chemical traces. A mirror matter spacebody can improve upon this explanation in a number of ways, but the main way is rather obvious: The lack of ordinary fragments and chemical traces are simply explained because the body was made of mirror matter.

  6. Disappearing comets. It has been known for a long time that many comets seem to disappear after entering the inner solar system for the first time.

The leading idea to explain this puzzle was that some comets are able to deplete all of their volatile gases during their first close approach to the sun.

However, a recent study has found that the number of asteroid-like objects being discovered is 100 times too low to account for the expected number of cometary remnants.

The standard explanation - now - is that all of these comets must somehow disintegrate. Although some comets have been observed to disintegrate, the precise mechanism is not understood.

If these comets are made of mirror matter with some volatile ordinary matter component, then the fading of the comets is explained. The ordinary matter evaporates leaving behind an almost pure mirror matter core.

The fact that some comets are observed to disintegrate can also be explained, at least qualitatively, due to the internal heating of the ordinary matter within the core of the comet.

This explanation also ties in with the mirror matter interpretation of the Jordan and Tunguska events.

Of course, mirror matter is still hypothetical, and people should therefore by skeptical of its existence. For example, it is possible that the anomalous behaviour of the Pioneer spacecraft is due to some unidentified systematic error and that the anomalous orthopositronium experiments are due to faulty equipment etc.

But science is not so much about belief, but about testing scientific hypothesis. Thus, the explanations discussed here can be tested by future experiments and observations.

For example, if the Pioneer spacecraft are slowing down because of a mirror matter drag force, then a spacecraft with a larger cross-sectional area/mass ratio will slow down faster. If the Jordan/Tunguska events are due to a mirror matter body then mirror matter must exist in the ground at those impact sites.

This can potentially be extracted and its existence proven. If orthopositronium lifetime anomaly is caused by mirror matter, this can be checked by future experiments too. And, if mirror matter exists, the implications for society and science are extremely important. Clearly, there is good reason to take the theory seriously and test its predictions.

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New Theory Asserts The Existence Of Mirror Matter
Melbourne - May 06, 2002
Invisible asteroids and other cosmic bodies made of a new form of matter may pose a threat to Earth, asserts Australian Physicist Dr. Robert Foot.