7 Future Promises and Prospects

Given the level of current activity it is inevitable that over the next several years there will be substantial advances in “the dark matter problem.” The main issues will be:

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Figure 17: Expected progress in covering MSSM parameter space from both indirect and direct search techniques over the next several years [49Jump To The Next Citation Point].

Of course, the most satisfying scientific output would be the discovery of the neutralino as the dominant dark matter component of the Milky Way. The prospects for this are very good. Figure 17View Image shows two panels taken from [49Jump To The Next Citation Point] in which the likely search areas to be completed by 2006 are delineated. The parameter space chosen for these plots has the universal scalar mass m0 and the gaugino mass M1 ∕2 as the coordinates. The two plots correspond to two illustrative values of tanβ. The solid dark green regions are already excluded. In the light green/yellow shaded area 0.025 ≤ Ωm ≤ 1, while in the blue shaded area 0.1 ≤ Ωm ≤ 0.3. The curves then show which regions of parameter space are likely to be addressed over the coming years. For each curve the forth-coming experiments will search the region between the curve and the dark green area. The red curve corresponds to the direct search techniques such as the next generation of CDMS, CCREST and UKDMC Xenon experiments. This curve should be reached in 2 – 3 years time. Following that, there are already larger, better experiments being planned that could push further still [133]. The other curves shown correspond to various indirect search techniques, including γ-rays, neutrinos, and positrons. Feng et al. [49] describe the situation in great detail. The complementarity of the various techniques is apparent and multiple detections would provide a powerful diagnostic of SUSY parameters.

The scientific impact of a positive neutralino detection would extend not only to cosmology and astrophysics in almost every aspect, but would also be of the utmost importance to supersymmetry and fundamental physics. If, in addition to the neutralino, the axion is also implicated, then we will have a double bonanza, which also will verify the adopted solution to CP violation. Seldom has there been a problem that impinges on so many fundamentally important issues and this justifies the current level of activity on all fronts. The next several years promise to be very interesting.

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