The Second-Largest Manmade Structure Will Help Us See Subatomic Particles

Preliminary plans have been released for a structure that will soar taller than the Burj Khalifa and lay claim to being the second-largest structure ever built in the history of mankind, right on the heels of the Great Wall of China. According to PopSci, European scientists are planning to construct a massive neutrino detector called the KM3NeT (choose your own pronunciation) upon the seafloor 3,200 feet beneath the surface of the Mediterranean. Ironically, if built, this mammoth structure will likely never be inhabited or even directly seen, given its submerged location. And to add to the irony, the preliminary purpose of this enormous detector is to sense out tiny subatomic particles called neutrinos. Continue.

With the same paradox of a blue whale having to gracefully take in 40 million krill a day, the KM3NeT neutrino detector will patiently sit and stare at the seafloor in an effort to see high-speed subatomic particles called neutrinos. The structure is comprised of 30 underwater towers, each over 800 meters tall and currently expected to surpass the Burj Khalifa in height. The network of towers will be equipped with 37,200 photomultiplier modules, digital cameras attuned to the telltale flashes heralding a neutrino’s arrival. If and when a neutrino enters into the three-cubic-kilometer range of the KM3NeT, the neutrino will provoke a response in a charged particle, breaking through the nucleus of said particle’s atom and possibly producing an outgoing particle that would radiate a cone of light, which is easily detectable in the depths of the Mediterranean.

via The Second-Largest Manmade Structure Will Help Us See Subatomic Particles.

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