Category: Earth and biosphere
By: Grazyna Fosar
The Neutrino Shock
They are not what they seem to be. Deep inside a mountain in Japan there is a huge artificial lake. It houses a gigantic observatory, the detector "Super Kamiokande". Paradoxically, it serves to observe particles that are among the smallest in the universe - NEUTRINOS.
To go even deeper into the world of the "little subatomic guys", you need something even larger. Project "IceCube" sinks its measuring equipment into the eternal ice of the Antarctic. Ice is one of the best archives we know in the world. At least, as long as it does not melt. Ice core samples, similar to the tree rings of the trees, contain a couple of of information about the past, especially from cosmos. In the Antarctic, attempts are being made to penetrate into the interior of the earth with help of deep drilling in order to crack the largest archive in the universe located on Earth. How did it get there? Well, from the universe ... IceCube is the largest astronomical observatory in the world and by far the most unusual. It is a unique telescope in the Antarctic, located on the grounds of the US research station Amundsen-Scott in the immediate vicinity of the South Pole. The entire apparatus was installed deeply under the ice. IceCube is looking for evidence of the existence of unusual guests from outer space - neutrinos. A neutrino observatory does not create "far out" photos, but rather a kind of x-ray of the Earth's interior, hoping to hit neutrinos. Neutrinos are very small particles with almost no mass. They are produced by radioactive decay of matter and come mainly from the sun, from cosmic radiation, some from dramatic events like the explosion of stars too. To find evidence for them helps scientists to understand better the beginning of universe, to answer the question, if there was such a beginning at all.
Source: Matrix3000 vol 98