The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) is a project of superlatives. It will use the world’s most intense neutrino beam and largest neutrino detector to study the weirdest and most abundant matter particles in the universe. More than 800 scientists from close to 30 countries are working on the project to crack some long-unanswered questions in physics. It’s part of a worldwide push to discover the missing pieces that could explain how the known particles and forces created the universe we live in.
Here are a some surprising facts about DUNE you might not know:
1. ENGINEERS WILL USE A MILE-LONG FISHING LINE TO AIM THE NEUTRINO BEAM FROM ILLINOIS TO SOUTH DAKOTA.
DUNE will aim a neutrino beam 800 miles (1300 kilometers) straight through the Earth from Fermilab to the Sanford Underground Research Facility — no tunnel necessary. Although the beam spreads as it travels, like a flashlight beam, everything must be properly aligned to within a fraction of a millimeter. Part of the process requires mapping points underground to points on the Earth’s surface. To do this, the alignment crew will drop what might be the longest plumb line in the world down the 4850-foot (1.5-kilometer) mineshaft. The current plan is to use a mile of very strong fishing line attached to a heavy weight that is immersed in a barrel of oil to dampen the movement of the pendulum. A laser tracker will record the precise location of the line.
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