Construction is well underway for what is being dubbed one of the world's biggest scientific experiments.
Taking place in an abandoned gold mine in South Dakota, the experiment has been put together by an international team of about 1,000 scientists and has been designed to uncover some of the biggest mysteries of the universe.
Called the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), the experiment will consist of two neutrino detectors placed in the world's most intense neutrino beam.
One detector will record particle interactions near the source of the beam, at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. A second, much larger, detector will be installed more than a kilometer underground at the Sanford Underground Research Laboratory, 1,300 kilometers downstream of the source.
"These detectors will enable scientists to search for new subatomic phenomena and potentially transform our understanding of neutrinos and their role in the universe," the official DUNE research page said.
There's three main discoveries that the scientists are hoping to uncover from the experiment. These are are follows:
- Finding the origin of matter
Examining whether neutrinos could be the reason that the universe is comprised of matter rather than antimatter, the scientists will explore the phenomenon of 'neutrino oscillations', using DUNE to seek to revolutionise the understanding of neutrinos and their role in the universe;
- Uncovering the unification of Forces
With the world's largest cryogenic particle detector located deep underground, DUNE will search for signs of proton decay. The scientists hope that this will reveal a relationship between the stability of matter and the Grand Unified theory, moving us closer to realising Einstein's dream.
- Demonstrating a black hole formation
Finally, DUNE will aim to let scientists observe thousands of neutrinos from a core-collapse supernova in the Milky Way, potentially enabling them to peer inside a newly-formed neutron star and, potentially, witness the birth of a black hole.
The researchers said that the records from the first events in DUNE should appear by 2024, meaning that it might be sooner than a decade before we could have solved some of the biggest mysteries of the universe.
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