A committee made up of high-profile US scientists has a bold plan afoot: It wants to build a billion-dollar particle beam to blast neutrinos 1200km underground, from Chicago to South Dakota.
The audacious plan would, according to Steven Ritz from the University of California Santa Cruz, be the biggest American particle physics project in many years, reports AP. But he also admitted that the project would still be dwarfed by Europe's Large Hadron Collider.
Neutrinos are curious, ghost-like particles that are electrically neutral and of very, very low mass. Because they're not affected by electromagnetic forces, they're able to pass through normal matter — including us! — unimpeded. They have long been a source of both interest and confusion for researchers.
Hence the panel's announcement yesterday that it wants the US to lead the research charge into the little guys over the next 20 years. If the plan is actually approved and funded, the neutrino beam would take about 10 years to build and could then run for up to 20 years. [AP]