Virtual Reality Tech May Make Going Shopping" In Real Life A Thing Of The Past

Virtual Reality Tech May Make Going Shopping” In Real Life A Thing Of The Past

The Conversation

High street shops are well-established online these days and provide new opportunities for interaction between shop and shopper. Consumers have become accustomed to shopping using a range of devices and the immense popularity of smartphones and mobile devices has led to the rise of mobile or m-retailing, with new communication and distribution channels created with these in mind. Perhaps this mix of the real and online worlds are helpful precursors for what may be the next big thing: virtual reality shopping.

Virtual reality (VR) experiences are typically provided through wearable headgear or goggles that block out the real world and immerse the user in a virtual one. This is distinguished from augmented reality (AR), where layers of digital content can be overlayed on the real world, providing access to both. For example, the digital information displayed on the visor of Google Glass.

While AR can work with mobile devices and is already included in some apps, for VR to succeed the headgear needs to be comfortable, stylish and powered by sufficiently capable software so that the immersive visual effects are credible and useful. Its possible to add deeper engagement with the virtual world by incorporating other senses, for example tactile hand controls for handling and manipulating objects.

In-store tech

However, the use of technology by retailers in-store has been patchy. The availability of in-store Wi-Fi has increased, and some stores offer touchscreens and tablets for customers to browse and search for items and look up information. More common are video screens displaying fashion collections, often connected to apps offering inspirational looks. However more cutting edge tech, such as magic mirrors that overlay the image of the shopper with the clothes theyve selected, allowing them to switch style and colour options, are less widespread. Sometimes theyre also less than reliable.

In any case, shoppers tend to appreciate functionality over more playful or whimsical means of interacting with the retailer. New additions are welcome when they are informative and save the shopper time, helping them locate products in the store or at another. Not surprisingly consumers would rather not pay for these services, and prefer to be engaged rather than marketed to. Young fashion shoppers simply use their phones to share photos of potential purchases through Snapchat and Instagram. Image is everything, with the retailer providing the backdrop.

Present trends point to the expansion of interactive shop window displays and in-store communication that uses a combination of GPS, transmitters such as the Apples iBeacon and other devices using Bluetooth transmissions to interact with shoppers smartphones. These will take personalisation and micro-marketing to a new level with real-time offers and information dispatched to their phone as they pass near product displays.

To support their brand, retailers will increasingly look at their customer relationships, so stories, images, videos and news fashion and cosmetic blogs have been particularly successful is where many new opportunities will arise. However, while creative and technologically novel, these are all at best examples of augmented rather than virtual reality.

Making a (virtual) impression

Where does this leave the use of virtual reality? We can expect to see trials as retailers become more comfortable offering content through them. New VR headsets such as from Oculus Rift and Sony will offer more and more realistic immersive environments. Sony, drawing on its Playstation expertise aims to to add movement to the user experience. Some brands have already piloted virtual stores, where VR-equipped shoppers could one day have the same experience of browsing through racks and shelves waiting for something to catch their eye without needing to leave their home.

VR will provide an opportunity to re-visit and experience retailers’ and desigers fashion shows of the past, events and exhibitions. For example, Top Shop recently transmitted London Fashion week as it happened through Oculus Rift headsets to customers in its Oxford Street store. It may also provide a means for retailer to extend the lifespan of certain promotions to individual customers.

Immersion is particularly promising in the creation or re-creation of 3D environments, which could be especially helpful for those buying furniture, furnishings, paint and decoration for their homes to envisage how it would look. The recently developed Virtuix virtual reality platform provides a motion controller that translates the users physical movements into equivalents in the virtual environment a means to, literally, walk around a virtual world.

However, any major step forward will need to make the retailers investment worthwhile, and as neither the technology nor shoppers’ complete acceptance of VR is where it needs to be today, theres some way to go before VR becomes the next big thing in shopping.The Conversation

Anthony Kent, Professor of Fashion Marketing, Nottingham Trent University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/technology/virtual-reality-tech-may-make-going-shopping-in-real-life-a-thing-of-the-past/

Bacteria in Space Grows in Strange Ways

Bacteria in Space Grows in Strange Ways

Pseudomonas-aeruginosa

When bacteria grows in a dish of fake urine in space, it behaves in ways never-before-seen in Earth microorganisms, scientists say.

A team of scientists sent samples of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa into orbit aboard NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis to see how they grew in comparison to their Earth-dwelling counterparts.

The 3D communities of microorganisms (called biofilms) grown aboard the space shuttle had more live cells, were thicker and had more biomass than the bacterial colonies grown in normal gravity on Earth as controls. The space bacteria also grew in a “column-and-canopy” structure that has never been observed in bacterial colonies on Earth, according to NASA scientists.

“Biofilms were rampant on the Mir space station and continue to be a challenge on the [International Space Station], but we still don’t really know what role gravity plays in their growth and development,” NASA’s study leader Cynthia Collins, an assistant professor in the department of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., said in a statement. “Our study offers the first evidence that spaceflight affects community-level behaviors of bacteria, and highlights the importance of understanding how both harmful and beneficial human-microbe interactions may be altered during spaceflight.”

Most biofilms found in the human body and in nature are harmless, but some are associated with disease, NASA officials said.

The space bacteria were cultured in artificial urine on NASA’s Atlantis shuttle in 2010 and again in 2011 before the retirement of NASA’s space shuttle program. Collins and her team of researchers used fabricated urine because it can be used to study the formation of biofilm outside and inside the body. Understanding how to safely remove and recycle waste is particularly relevant because of its importance in long-term spaceflight, NASA officials said.

“The unique appearance and structure of the P. aeruginosa biofilms formed in microgravity suggests that nature is capable of adapting to nonterrestrial environments in ways that deserve further studies, including studies exploring long-term growth and adaptation to a low-gravity environment,” Collins said in a statement. “Before we start sending astronauts to Mars or embarking on other long-term spaceflight missions, we need to be as certain as possible that we have eliminated or significantly reduced the risk that biofilms pose to the human crew and their equipment.”

Scientists sent 12 devices with eight vials of P. aeruginosa — a bacterium that can be associated with disease on Earth — into orbit on Atlantis. Once in space, astronauts on the shuttle introduced the bacterium to the fake urine while scientists on the ground began the control experiment.

After the samples arrived safely on Earth, Collins and her team took a detailed 3D image of the biofilms to investigate their internal structure, and used other research methods to investigate the colony’s thickness and cell growth.

The study, published in the April 20 issue of the journal PLOS ONE, also could have implications for bacterial research on Earth. It’s possible that this kind of research could help scientists and doctors more effectively limit the spread of infection in hospitals, Collins said.

Image courtesy of NASA

This article originally published at Space.com
here

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/07/10/bacteria-growth-space/

Deep Ancient Water Is Stopping The Antarctic Ocean From Warming

Deep Ancient Water Is Stopping The Antarctic Ocean From Warming

The waters around the Antarctic may be one of the last places on Earth to feel the effects of man-made climate change. According to researchers at the University of Washington (UW) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), ancient seawater upwelling from the depths explainwhy the sea surface has remained roughly the same temperature while most of the planet has experienced temperature rises.

Using a combination of observations from floating ocean current trackers and cutting-edge computer simulations, the new Nature Geoscience study shows that this centuries-old seawater hasnt been to the surface since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Although the cooler waters around the Antarctic were previously blamed on ocean currents drawing sea surface heat down to the depths, it appears that cold water yet to experience the newly-warmed atmosphere is currently rising up to the surface.

With rising carbon dioxide you would expect more warming at both poles, but we only see it at one of the poles, so something else must be going on, the studys lead author Kyle Armour, a UW assistant professor of oceanography and of atmospheric sciences, said in a statement. We show that it’s for really simple reasons, andocean currentsare the hero here.

Observed warming over the past 50 years, as measured in degrees Celsius per decade. Its clear that the Southern Ocean has warmed by only a fraction, and it appears ocean currents are to blame for this unusual refrigeration mechanism. Kyle Armour/UW

Seawater from the deepest depths of the worlds oceans upwell at different times, and they do so when they become less dense than the water above them. This can happen for many reasons, including a reduction in salt concentrationor an influx of heat at depth, both of which make them more buoyant. On occasion, there can be a mechanical driver of seawater upwelling, such as persistent winds.

This is whats happening in the Southern Ocean, where extremely powerful westerly winds keep pushing warming surface water northwards; this gives the deeper, older water space to upwell into. The novel aspect of the waters here is that they have to upwell from depths of several thousand meters, far beyond the depths that most other oceanic currents reach. This means that it takes them an incredibly long time to reach the surface and interact with the atmosphere.

According to the models run by the team, the water only just beginning to reach the surface off the coast of Antarctica last experienced the Earths atmosphere centuries ago in the North Atlantic, before any serious man-made climate change had the chance to significantly heat it up. In fact, their simulations show that the oceanic currents that have experienced the most warming appear to be gathering at the North Pole, which also partly explains why Arctic sea ice is disintegrating so rapidly.

When we hear the term ‘global warming,’ we think of warming everywhere at the same rate, Armour added. We are moving away from this idea and more toward the idea of regional patterns of warming, which are strongly shaped by ocean currents.

The fact that Antarctic sea ice has been growing just as the Arctics has been disintegrating has baffled scientists for some time; irritatingly, this discrepancy is often cited by climate change deniers as proof that climatologists dont know what theyre talking about. It was only a matter of time before several explanations emerged, and this new study represents one of two corroborating theories helping to explain why the sea ice around Antarctica has been unexpectedly growing.

Photo Gallery

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/deep-ancient-water-stopping-antarctic-ocean-warming

In The Heart Of The Sea: The Horrific True Story behind Moby-Dick

In The Heart Of The Sea: The Horrific True Story behind Moby-Dick

A man winds his way through the muck and mire of a 19th-century American port Nantucket, centre of the worlds whaling industry. He knocks on a door, enters, and begs an exhausted looking man to tell him his story in exchange for his life savings. Hes heard rumours, he says, rumours about the 1820 sinking of the Essex, a whaling ship. The man played by Ben Whishaw turns out to be Herman Melville. Hes searching for the true story that will lead him to write Moby-Dick.

Ever since its publication in 1851, Moby-Dick has sparked the imagination with its prophetic, digressive and dangerous themes. So much so, it eclipsed the true story the novel is based on. But that real-life tale that of a vengeful whale taking out a whaling ship has now been adapted in true swashbuckling style by Ron Howard. The film, In the Heart of the Sea (released on Boxing Day), is based on Nathaniel Philbricks maritime history book of the same name.

Ben Whishaw as Herman Melville. Warner Brothers

The story goes like this. In 1819, the whale-ship Essex set sail from Nantucket. A year into the voyage, 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km) west of South America, a pod of whales was sighted by the lookout. The harpoonists set out in their small whale boats to reap their bounty.

But one of those small boats that of first mate Owen Chase was smashed to pieces by a whales tail. The crew returned to the Essex, whereupon, according to Chase, they saw a large spermacetti whale about 85ft in length heading directly for them as if fired with revenge.

The whale struck the Essex. And when it rammed the ship a second time, it was obvious that it would sink. The remaining crew of 20 men, thousands of miles from land, salvaged what supplies they could and set off in three small cedar boats.

Thus began an incredible tale of maritime survival. The men spent over three months at sea and had to resort to cannibalism in order to survive. Captain Pollard and Charles Ramsdell were discovered gnawing on the bones of their shipmates in one boat. Owen Chase, Lawrence and Nickerson also survived to tell the tale. In all, seven sailors were consumed.

Twelve Fishy Men, Angela Cockayne, 2013. Author provided

Moby Doll

For several years now, the whale and in particular the white whale, the ambiguous, mythical Moby-Dick has been a recurring anchor for my own art work.

The relationship between humans and cetaceans has long been something of a paradox. We are drawn to their mystery and intelligence, in awe of their size and grace, yet we hunted many whales to near extinction, and still today use dolphins and orca for military manoeuvres and entertainment. The most likely reason that the historical whale turned on the Essex was not revenge, but self-defence. Perhaps it was protecting the calves that were routinely slaughtered to attract their oil rich mothers to their untimely demise.

Owen Chases first hand account of the whale describes it as male, and this has determined the way most accounts speak of the incident. But of course theres at least a 50% per cent chance that the whale that attacked the boat was female. Sperm whales are matriarchal, they form strong social groups, babysit and suckle each others calves and act collectively to protect their young. If threatened, several females will form what is know as a marguerite pattern (daisy) around a young whale in need of protection to fend off attack. Bull whales, meanwhile, are solitary and leave the pod at maturity, returning only to mate.

Moby Doll, Angela Cockayne, 2012. Author provided

Whale Oil

The whale of both In the Heart of the Sea and Moby-Dick is a charismatic beast; seeming to signify many contemporary themes capitalism, religion, colonialism, morality, ecology, racism. The whale, like the canary in the mine, is also an ecological barometer. In our pursuit and dominion over nature, we expose our own flaws and vulnerability.

In pursuit of whale oil, these unfortunate mariners crossed the unutterable taboo of cannibalism (ironically, once adrift they voted against trying to head west to the nearest islands, the Marquesas, due to rumours of cannibalistic inhabitants). And while the good Quaker folk of Nantucket fought for the abolition of slavery, they also continued to pursue the noble domestication of the savages encountered on whaling voyages. Placing missionaries among cannibals they asked them to eat the flesh and drink the blood of a new god.

There she blows. Warner Brothers

The whales that the men of Nantucket were at sea brutally harvesting were one of the first global commodities. Their oil illuminated and lubricated the Industrial Revolution, generating vast fortunes. Hunting down these creatures for fuel may seem archaic today, but it was the historical version of coal or gas, crucial to the world economy. Towards the end of the film the old Thomas Nickerson says, I hear someones found oil by drilling into the ground. Whod have thought!

Our pursuit of the highly intelligent whale, a creature that has roamed the ocean for 60 million years and which we have persecuted almost to extinction, says much about our own species. We should remember this when considering our continued penchant for fossil fuels.

That 19th century whale oil has lubricated our own voyage through an imagined and uncharted space that traverses land and sea, ocean floor to outer space. So when you watch In the Heart of the Sea, consider how it reflects upon our own behaviour in our continuing quest for dominion over nature and resource.

Angela Cockayne, Reader in Art and Design, Bath Spa University

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/heart-sea-horrific-true-story-behind-moby-dick

Watch This Homemade Electromagnetic Gun Vaporize A Piggybank

Watch This Homemade Electromagnetic Gun Vaporize A Piggybank

A few weeks ago, aguy on YouTube built a real Mjlnir hammer. Now, YouTuber Ziggy Zee has created a DIY railgun. And no, as they say in the video, you wont be finding this on Pinterest.

A railgun, simply put,is an electricallypowered electromagnetic gun. The U.S. military oftenexperimentswith them and NASA even once toyed with the idea of using one to launch objects into space.

The backyard rail gunfires the projectile with 56 480-joule capacitors, with a burst of carbon dioxide to help it along. To give you some perspective, one joule is the amount of energy needed to lift a 100 gram (0.2 pound) apple vertically through one meter of air they’re using over 25,000 joules.

The railgun is the fruit of two years’ work, some of which you can check out onImgur.

Also, in case it wasnt obvious, dont try this at home.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/technology/amateurs-create-super-powerful-diy-railgun

Does the Moon Have Levitating Lunar Dust?

Does the Moon Have Levitating Lunar Dust?

Does-the-moon-have-levitating-lunar-dust--ba51520a7f

Did you hear about the new restaurant on the moon? Great food, but no atmosphere.

While that wisecrack has been floating about in space circles for decades, a NASA lunar orbiter will gather detailed information about the moon’s atmosphere next year, including conditions near its surface and environmental influences on lunar dust.

NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is to depart the Earth for the moon in August 2013. LADEE is loaded with science gear, including instruments that can address a lingering question that’s rooted in space history: Are electrostatically lofted lunar dust particles present within the moon’s tenuous atmosphere?

Twilight Rays on the Moon

In the 1960s, several NASA Surveyor moon landers relayed images showing a twilight glow low over the lunar horizon persisting after the sun had set. Also, a number of Apollo astronauts orbiting the moon saw twilight rays before lunar sunrise or lunar sunset.

In addition, some have floated the theory that the glowing transient lunar phenomenon seen from Earth might stem from sunlight reflecting off of suspended lunar dust.

LADEE will investigate this moon magic trick of levitating lunar dust. The spacecraft has the tools it needs to address mysteries and questions that have been around since Apollo, said Rick Elphic, LADEE project scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.

Ames is responsible for managing the mission, building the spacecraft and performing mission operations.

Elphic told SPACE.com that among its duties, the LADEE mission can further investigate tantalizing hints about the dust and the moon’s exotic atmosphere.

“If we fly LADEE through the regions where the Apollo command module observations were made, we will know right away if there are small grains there or not,” Elphic said. LADEE’s Lunar Dust Experiment (LDEX) is a very sensitive dust-detecting instrument, he said, and scientists may be able to place new upper limits on the dust in the first week of the spacecraft’s orbiting operations.

Nagging Moon Question

“If LADEE never sees levitated dust, that settles the question for the high-altitude observations, at least for its mission time frame,” Elphic said.

Still, there’s the nagging question about what Surveyor saw, the near-surface horizon glow. “That might be something else entirely, and can only be addressed with a surface mission,” Elphic said.

“If LADEE does see dust, we will then have a basis for expecting the same phenomena at all other ‘nearly-airless’ bodies around the solar system,” Elphic added.

This dust may not pose much of a hazard, Elphic added, but the physics will need to be explained. Right now, no one has a good end-to-end model for getting dust to loft and secondly, stay suspended for long periods, he said.

“If LADEE observes levitated dust, then scientists will have to explain it. Right now, no one can,” Elphic said.

One-Way Trip Off the Moon

One scientist ready for the new data to be gleaned by LADEE is Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, Apollo 17 moonwalker and geologist. He and astronaut Eugene Cernan walked the lunar surface in December 1972 — the last mission of the Apollo moon landings.

“I do not know if LADEE will see lunar dust in the lunar atmosphere, but I will not be surprised if there is none,” Schmitt told SPACE.com. “We know about several transient gases in that atmosphere, and these may be what causes the horizon glow at sunrise and sunset.”

Moon dust, Schmitt added, was always been on his mind.

“My concern about levitated dust has always been that levitation, if it occurs at all, probably has to be a one-way trip off the moon … because many flat rock surfaces are essentially free of very fine dust, as I personally witnessed on Apollo 17.”

Schmitt said that if dust has been levitated and then dropped again, he would expect the rock surfaces to be covered with such dust.

“Nonetheless, LADEE data on this question, as well as various gases, should give us a lot to think about,” Schmitt said.

This article originally published at Space.com
here

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/20/nasa-ladee-levitating-lunar-dust/

Sandy Prompts FCC Hearings on Communications Outages

Sandy Prompts FCC Hearings on Communications Outages

Sandy-prompts-fcc-hearings-on-communications-outages-69523f55c6

The Federal Communications Commission announced on Wednesday it will hold field hearings examining ways to keep communications systems up and running during natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy.

Lawmakers called for probes into communications outages after Sandy left as much as 25% of cell sites in its path inoperable when it hit the East Coast in October.

“This unprecedented storm has revealed new challenges that will require a national dialogue around ideas and actions to ensure the resilience of communications networks,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.

The hearings will start in 2013, with the first round in New York and continuing in other disaster-prone areas of the country.

In the wake of Sandy, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for the FCC to determine where system weaknesses exist and develop plans to make communications networks more resilient.

“Field hearings will increase our understanding of the problems encountered during Superstorm Sandy and harvest the best ideas to ensure that mobile phone service doesn’t fail after future storms,” he said in a statement after the FCC announced the hearings. “Mobile communication has become an essential part of our lives, and increasing its reliability must be a top priority.”

Several House Democrats have also called for a congressional hearing on the issue.

Harold Feld, senior vice president at the consumer group Public Knowledge, said he hopes the outages will lead to federal standards for communications networks.

“Hopefully, the experience with Sandy underscores how dependent we as a nation have become on these networks, and that the federal government does indeed have a role in setting minimum standards for preparedness and response,” he said.

Image courtesy of Flickr, edenpictures

This article originally published at National Journal
here

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/21/sandy-fcc-outages/

Balloon Capsule That Will Take People To The Edge Of Space Completes Test Flight

Balloon Capsule That Will Take People To The Edge Of Space Completes Test Flight

A commercial spaceflight company that wants to send people on balloon-powered capsule trips to the edge of space has completed a prototype test of its ambitious endeavor.

On October 24, 2015, World View Enterprises based in Arizona, where the test also took place sent a one-tenthscale replica of the final vehicle to a height of 30,625 meters (100,475 feet) using a high-altitude balloon filled with helium. Now, the company is working towards its goal of sending humans high into the sky by 2017.

This test flight is symbolic of a major step towards a new era of accessible space travel for us all, CEO and co-founder Jane Poynter said in a statement. Of course, this vehicle will not actually be going to space defined as the Karman line, 100 kilometers (62 miles) up. However, what it will do is still pretty impressive.

Check out a video of the test flight above. World View.

World View is buildinglargercapsules for passengers to travel high into the sky, from where they will be afforded views of the curvature of Earth. Each Voyager capsule, weighing 4,500 kilograms (10,000 pounds), will be carried upwards by a football pitch-sized balloon, taking no more than two hours to ascend to its maximum altitude of 30 kilometers (19 miles).

The capsule then detaches from the balloon and a parasail unfolds, known as the ParaWing, which a pilot on board can use to steer the capsule back to the ground anywhere up to 480 kilometers (300 miles) from the original launch site. The total time of the flight is up to six hours.

Sound unbelievable? Well, this latest successful test proved the entire concept, albeit with a 10% scaled version. But the company is confident that the first planned human flights in just two years can be achieved. Full-scale unmanned tests are expected in the coming months.

While each individual system has been analyzed and extensively tested in previous test flights, this significant milestone allowed us to test and prove all critical flight systems at once, said Chief Technology Officer and co-founder Taber MacCallum in the statement. Now were ready for the next major phase of development full scale system testing.

MacCullum told IFLScience that the pilot on the first human flight would likely be former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, whose twin brother Scott is currently taking part in the Year In Space mission on the ISS. The process to pilot andland the capsule wont be unlike flying the Space Shuttle, said MacCullum. Both are essentially big gliders, with which Mark already has extensive experience.”

A ticket aboard a Voyager capsule will cost you $75,000 (50,000), significantly less than other high-altitude commercial endeavors such as Richard Bransons Virgin Galactic, but still obviously too dear for many. Nonetheless, initially expensive space tourism ventures like this could make space or at least near-space more accessible and hopefully drive the price down in the future.

Image in text: The scaled test flight on October 24. World View.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/space/balloon-will-take-people-edge-space-capsule-completes-test-flight

Most Convincing Evidence Yet For Dark Matter Detection

Most Convincing Evidence Yet For Dark Matter Detection

Scientists have been analyzing high-energy gamma rays originating from the center of the Milky Way and have presented the most convincing case so far that at least some of this may come from dark matter.

Dark matter is a type of matter that is thought to account for apparent effects due to mass where no mass can be observed. It behaves differently to normal matter, such as planets and stars, which only accounts for approximately 5% of the universe. It neither emits nor absorbs light or other forms of electromagnetic energy, so a simple definition is that it is matter that does not react to light. The total mass-energy of the known universe is estimated to contain approximately 27% dark matter.

Using data collected from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, scientists from different institutions generated maps of the center of the galaxy. They found that some of the high-energy gamma rays could not be sufficiently explained by known sources. There are numerous known sources of gamma-rays in the center of the galaxy, such as supernova remnants, but it is also predicted to be rich in dark matter. Although scientists know dark matter exists, they are not entirely sure of what it is composed of. Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, or WIMPs, are a strong candidate. It is thought that collision of WIMPs may produce a quickly decaying particle, which could produce gamma rays detectable by Fermi.

Once they removed all the known sources of gamma rays from the Fermi observations, some emission was leftover. If dark matter particles with a particular mass are destroying each other, this would be a remarkable fit for the remaining emission. Despite this, the scientists err on the side of caution since alternative sources may still exist. Further sightings are also required to make this interpretation more convincing.

The Fermi scientists have also turned elsewhere in an attempt to detect dark matter by looking at dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. Dwarf galaxies are rich in dark matter and lack other types of gamma-ray sources present in the center of the Milky Way which make detection of dark matter problematic. On the flip side, their distance from us and the fact that the dark matter present is still considerably less than that in the center of the Milky Way means that the signals are weak. But according to Elliott Bloom, a member of the Fermi collaboration, “If we ultimately see a significant signal, it could be a very strong confirmation of the dark matter signal claimed in the galactic center.”

While at this stage the signal cannot be confirmed or refuted as dark matter, it represents an exciting step towards the detection of dark matter at the galactic center. 

Check out this YouTube video for an image of the Milky Way with the gamma-ray map from NASA’s Fermi superimposed on top. 

Credit: NASA Goddard; A. Mellinger, CMU; T. Linden, University of Chicago

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/space/most-convincing-evidence-yet-dark-matter-detection