Dark-matter experiment moves underground
This week is a big one for the LUX dark-matter detector. On Thursday, the 6500-pound experiment – protected with bubble wrap and thick sheets of pink foam – made the 2-hour, 4850-foot journey from the surface of the earth to its new home deep within a former gold mine in South Dakota.
When LUX, the Large Underground Xenon detector, starts taking data later this year, it will be the most sensitive experiment ever to search for dark matter. From within the Homestake mine, where rock muffles cosmic radiation’s constant din, LUX will look for bright flashes of light produced when dark-matter particles collide with xenon atoms inside the detector. (Learn more about LUX in the April 2012 issue of symmetry.)
LUX’s arrival in the Sanford Underground Research Facility will be celebrated both today and tomorrow.
First, today at 12:00 noon CDT (5:00 p.m. GMT), the South Dakota Public Radio program “Innovation” will broadcast live from LUX’s new home at SURF. (Listen live on the Web.) Then, on Saturday, LUX researchers stationed underground will talk live with visitors on the surface via high-definition videoconference. The virtual tour is one of many activities planned for the Sanford Underground Research Facility’s Neutrino Day science festival.