TECH

Asteroids And Dark Matter Could Be Teaming Up To Wipe Us All Out

29/04/2014 09:30 BST | Updated 29/04/2014 11:59 BST

Last week we brought you the news that 26 asteroids have struck the Earth with the power of a nuclear bomb in just 14 years.

It gets worse - in some kind of astronomical conspiracy, they might be teaming up with dark matter to make catastrophic extinction impacts even more likely.

Dark matter is a mysterious and little understood substance that is thought to make up five-sixths of all matter in the universe but has never been directly observed.

asteroid

This could spell the end of the world

It is believed that a region of dark matter is at the centre of the Milky Way and its gravitational pull is what stops the galaxy from spinning apart.

Researchers at Harvard University have suggested the dark matter could disrupt the path of asteroids and comets in the outer solar system, changing their trajectory, possibly on a onto a crash course with Earth.

It was already known that around every 35 million years our dear planet is hit by an increased amount of asteroids which coincides with the when the Sun passes through the dark matter in the central plane of the Milky Way.

Harvard theoretical physicist, Lisa Randall, told Space.com: "The cycle is slightly off for that mass extinction, but we have an incomplete data set regarding impact craters, so maybe with more information the cycle might fit what we know better.

"Even if it’s a remote possibility that dark matter can affect the local environment in ways that have noticeable consequences over long periods of time, it’s still incredibly interesting."