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NEW THEORY ASSERTS THE EXISTENCE OF MIRROR MATTER Invisible asteroids and other cosmic bodies made of a new form of matter may pose a threat to Earth, asserts Australian Physicist Dr. Robert Foot. In a revolutionary new theory, Dr. Robert Foot of the University of Melbourne argues that meteorites composed of `mirror matter' -- a candidate for the invisible dark matter that astronomers say is necessary to explain their observations -- could impact with the Earth without leaving any ordinary fragments. Indeed, the theory seems to provide a simple explanation for the puzzling Tunguska event - the blast which destroyed a huge area of Siberian forest in 1908. While scientists have attributed this explosion to an ordinary meteorite, no significant traces of such an object have ever been found. Moreover, there are frequent smaller such events, occurring on a yearly basis, which are even more puzzling. The idea of mirror matter comes from the established fact that the interactions of the known elementary particles, such as the electrons, protons and neutrinos, violate mirror symmetry -- they have left-handed interactions. This experimental fact motivates the idea that a set of `mirror particles' exist. The left-handedness of the ordinary particles can then be balanced by the right-handedness of the mirror particles. In this way mirror reflection symmetry can exist but requires something profoundly new -- a new form of matter called `mirror matter'. In a recently published book -- Shadowlands, quest for mirror matter in the Universe -- the scientific case for the existence of mirror matter is given. At the very least, there is a range of fascinating evidence for its existence including: astronomical observations suggesting that most of our galaxy is made from a new form of matter - dark matter, puzzling Jupiter sized planets only a few million miles from their host star, and the mysterious slowing down of spacecraft in our solar system. Remarkably, it is also possible that Pluto -- the most distant planet in our solar system -- might even be a mirror world, which can explain various anomalous features of its orbit. Perhaps, the most important consequence of all this -- if true -- is the possibility of actually extracting the mirror matter from the Tunguska impact site and other such sites around the world. The mirror matter idea has not attracted a huge following among physicists. In a recent UPI article, Howard Georgi of Harvard University says: "Foot's ideas have not attracted a huge following in the community that cares about these things, perhaps because the problems they solve, while interesting, are not the most critical puzzles that we are wrestling with." Nevertheless, mirror matter, if it exists, would be a completely new type of material with a potentially huge commercial value. Its scientific value would be of no less importance.