ANALYSIS: Dark Matter Matters, Especially When You Can't Find It
Although this hypothesis is based purely in theoretical simulations of equations for how we think dark matter behaves, it could act as a template for future exploration of dark matter.
"If we could pinpoint the location of the root of these hairs, we could potentially send a probe there and get a bonanza of data about dark matter," said Prézeau.
"Dark matter has eluded all attempts at direct detection for over 30 years. The roots of dark matter hairs would be an attractive place to look, given how dense they are thought to be," said Charles Lawrence, chief scientist for JPL's astronomy, physics and technology directorate.
Interestingly, according to Prézeau's model, the hairs should retain information about the insides of the planets the dark matter stream is passing through, creating a planetary "fingerprint" of sorts that could be used to remotely explore any planet's interior.
Obviously, this research comes with some huge caveats, the key one being that, even though we have yet to directly measure dark matter particles, they interact with planetary gravitational fields as expected by current theoretical models. Also, to test this "dark matter hair" theory, we'll need to develop a way to detect concentrations of dark matter in the vicinity of Earth. Have the presence of the roots of these dark matter hairs already been detected? Could their presence explain some as-yet to be explained mysteries (such as the infamous "flyby anomaly")?