Vergon 6, in the aftermath, was left completely hollow and was on the verge of collapse, leading the Planet Express crew on a mission to the doomed planet to rescue the species that live there. “Vergon 6 was once filled with the super-dense substance known as dark matter, each pound of which weighs over 10,000 pounds,” Professor Farnsworth explains in the episode.
During the rescue mission, Leela meets Nibbler, a little alien who would be a regular part of the series going forward. What we come to find is that the native Nibblonians actually excrete dark matter as waste. The crew uses Nibbler’s waste to fuel the Planet Express and escape before the planet implodes.
Now, circling back to Cohen’s explanation. Admittedly, putting forth that a small, very hungry race of aliens drops dark matter every time they go to the bathroom is a stretch within the bounds of our understanding of science. But could the substance, whatever it may be in actuality, be used for space travel? Maybe, maybe not. For the purposes of the show, it’s hard to totally disprove it either way. And that’s exactly the point. Since no one really understands dark matter, its uses in the context of the comedy sci-fi show were seemingly endless.
“Futurama” is currently streaming on Hulu.