Thanks to some pretty rigorous scientific calculations, researchers have long been able to determine how much matter there was in the universe when the Big Bang happened. The problem — until now — is that they couldn’t actually find half of what is supposed to be there. But by using mysterious fast radio bursts (FRBs), researchers from Curtin University have finally located all the missing matter in the vast space between stars and galaxies.
The matter in question is called baryonic matter, which is composed of neutrons and protons, making up all the things we can touch and see (unlike dark matter, which is an entirely different story). According to lead author associate Professor Jean-Pierre Macquart, scientists have been looking for this stuff for almost 30 years. “But when we looked out into the present universe, we couldn’t find half of what should be there. It was a bit of an embarrassment,” he said. “Intergalactic space is very sparse. The missing matter was equivalent to only one or two atoms in a room the size of an average office.”