Underwater neutrino detector will be second-largest structure ever built

Posted: 12/28/2011 in all marine news

Jason Major – 

The hunt for elusive neutrinos will soon get its largest and most powerful tool yet: the enormous KM3NeT telescope, currently under development by a consortium of 40 institutions from ten European countries.

Once completed KM3NeT will be the second-largest structure ever made by humans, after the Great Wall of China, and taller than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai… but submerged beneath 3,200 feet of ocean !

KM3NeT – so named because it will encompass an area of several cubic kilometers – will be composed of lengths of cable holding optical modules on the ends of long arms.

These modules will stare at the sea floor beneath the Mediterranean in an attempt to detect the impacts of neutrinos traveling down from deep space. Successfully spotting neutrinos – subatomic particles that don’t interact with “normal” matter very much at all, nor have magnetic charges – will help researchers to determine which direction they originated from.

That in turn will help them pinpoint distant sources of powerful radiation, like quasars and gamma-ray bursts.

Only neutrinos could make it this far and this long after such events since they can pass basically unimpeded across vast cosmic distances.

“The only high energy particles that can come from very distant sources are neutrinos,” said Giorgio Riccobene, a physicist and staff researcher at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics.

”So by looking at them, we can probe the far and violent universe.”

Full story…

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