What would it actually be like if every particle in your body converted into a dark matter particle? And how long could you last in that state?
Everything that we can see in the Universe is a massive mash-up of electrons, protons and neutrons fused into atoms. It’s what is called baryonic, or just ordinary, matter. Your body is made up of it too.
But there is a lot of stuff out there that we don’t see, stuff that we call dark matter and dark energy. Scientists think that dark matter and dark energy make up 95% of the Universe.
If you were to undergo a dark matter transformation, your existence as you know it would come to an end instantly. But as compensation, you’d get the ability to move through virtually anything you want.
Before we change your body composition, let’s make some things clear. There is no concrete proof that dark matter exists. And we currently have no technology available to find that proof. So how can we know about dark matter in the first place?
If you run some cosmic calculations, based on physics as we know it, it turns out that the amount of visible matter in the Universe doesn’t add up. Here’s an example.
A spiral galaxy, like the one we live in, has stars at its outer edges. According to what physics says, these stars should be moving at a much slower pace compared to the ones close to the galactic center.
But in reality, all stars in the galaxy seem to be orbiting its center point at almost the same speed. Scientists think that that’s dark matter influencing the effects of gravity, and making the stars move the way they do.
Dark matter doesn’t interact with ordinary matter at all. It’s invisible to electromagnetic radiation and light. The only thing that makes scientists think dark matter exists is its gravitational effects on galaxies.
Scientists also think that dark matter outweighs visible matter by approximately six to one, making up 27% of the Universe. Now, let’s go back to your dark matter transformation.
If you’re of an average weight of 70 kg (154 pounds), your body has about seven billion billion billion atoms in it. Your atoms form molecules, molecules form cells, and cells form vitals that you can see with your eyes, like your organs.
If all of your ordinary matter atoms switched to dark matter atoms, your physical body would disintegrate. Without ordinary matter, there would be nothing to glue your atoms together anymore.
But this wouldn’t be the end of your story. You’d become invisible, and your body wouldn’t appear as a collective whole, but your dark matter particles would still interact gravitationally. Trapped by the Earth’s gravity, those particles would start an endless marathon around the center of the Earth’s gravity — the core. They would be circling in an elliptical orbit at the speed of 3 km/s (1.86 mi/s).
Every 88 minutes, your dark matter would make a whole circle back to the place of your transformation. The dark matter particles that used to be you would slowly drift over time.
On your first dark matter birthday, your particles would show up about half a meter (20 inches) from the spot they were “born.” After ten years, that distance would be half a kilometer (1,640 feet).
That’s because dark matter you wouldn’t be influenced by our planet’s rotation. Dark matter is only affected by gravity.
There would be no energy or momentum loss. You would never re-form to become an ordinary matter you again. You would just keep circling around the Earth’s core.
Of course, nothing can turn you into a dark matter entity in real life. But that doesn’t mean that there is no dark matter around you.
The mathematics behind it can get somewhat complex, but scientists have estimated that the average person has 10^-22 kilograms of dark matter in their body at any given time. Throughout your life, approximately one milligram of dark matter will pass directly through you.
While technically you can never be entirely made up of dark matter, it’s incredible to think about how something we don’t know much about could be so close to us, even part of us. There is so much to learn about the Universe and how it behaves. Maybe we would have a better grasp of it if the Earth had been born somewhere inside a globular cluster, and not at the outskirts of the Milky Way Galaxy.
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- “Dark energy | Definition, Discoverers, & Facts”. 2019. Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed November 30 2019.
- “What Would Happen If You Became Dark Matter?”. Ethan Siegel, 2019. forbes.com. Accessed November 30 2019.
- “How many atoms are in a person?”. LAURIE L. DOVE, Howstuffworks. Accessed November 30 2019.