Following on my last article, I'd like to ask the question, weither some day, dark matter might be useful or even vital to a civilisation.
This depends on the properties of the stuff, which of course we haven't found yet. But it seems the standard lightest super-symmetric particle dark matter, most likely wouldn't be much use even to an highly advanced inter stellar civilisation. The lightest super-symmetric particle doesn't do much, it interacts by gravity, and by the weak nuclear force only and sometimes it annihilate with other particles like itself.
You can't bottle it, you need asteroid size weights to move it, and need to standard behind a heck of a lot of shielding when you try to turn it into energy. All you can do is try do scoop as much of it as you can into a compact object of normal matter, and use that as a mini-star. But even as stars go, one powered by dark matter are suspected to be much bigger than ordinary stars, and not smaller.
The sorts of dark matter I reported on in my last article, on the other hand, are literally cool in a box. They have there own versions of electromagnetism at least, and one case, mirror matter, chemistry as well. With the dark electromagnetic field, you've got a whole new spectrum of radio bandwidth to transmit with, and on that works through tunnels and water. Its also a could heat sink. If you can join it to normal matter, then you can radiate the heat into space using the dark spectrum instead of as ordinary light.
The difference in temperatures between the ordinary side and dark side, makes for an energy source. If you could bind it to ordinary object, you could mark them, and track them secretly where ever they go. It would also be vital to being sensor for prospecting more dark matter, and it would be beautiful to build cameras and telescopes to see the sky by radiation from dark matter, (least poetic way of writing that).
Finding dark matter having useful technological properties, would also boost the space race like nothing else, we've understood in basics how to mine the moon or asteroid for gold. But gold just isn't worth the effort, there is plenty of gold on the earth, and get into space is very very expensive. Mining darking matter for what ever useful technologies you could make out it, would be worth it. To stay ahead of the technology curve, in war or commerce, to possibly solve global warming, dark matter if it is of the sort that has its own hidden sector interactions, is a material that is worth mining from space.
Let not hype this to much, not to be point where we cut back on simpler new technologies like better fuel cells or batteries or wind mill or solar panels, and lets avoid distorting our world views with, its true, because I hope it is. But lets not dismiss it as science fiction either. Just five years ago the only result scientist had on dark matter, was that something must be there, by gravity. Now we've seen results from lab experiments and gamma ray satellites, we don't know what properties dark matter has, and have all lots of mass ranges and particle physics models to try and fit it against. But slowly its coming into view.
Could Dark Matter Be Technologically Useful?