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Tour of the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Lab

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the where-else-would-you-hide-the-stargate dept.

Science 35

lukej writes "Over eleven years ago, the possibility of using the retired Homestake Mine as an underground science laboratory was first proposed. Today the local newspaper gives a science-filled tour of that facility, along with a short photo tour, and decent descriptions of some of the experiments it hosts (Majorana, LUX, Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment). Some fairly interesting deep, dirty, and real physical science!"

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Well thats a first (3, Interesting)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42652597)

that something of relevance from my home state makes it on the front page of slashdot. Gives me hope that something worthwhile can finally come from that side of the state.

Re:Well thats a first (1)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42652913)

They have lots of worthwhile stuff on that side of the state. Now they will hopefully also start having some jobs out there that aren't all based around tourism.

How the latrine works in places like that ? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42653749)

Just wondering ... How they gonna get the "latrinal gold" out from such deep underground hole?

Re:How the latrine works in places like that ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42656747)

We have an incinolate toilate.

Re:How the latrine works in places like that ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42656765)

That is, toilet. Mine fumes must be heavy today.

Re:How the latrine works in places like that ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42657313)

That is, toilet. Mine fumes must be heavy today.

Your fumes are heavy today? Mama is that you?

Re:Well thats a first (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about a year and a half ago | (#42653019)

This was a triumph...

Re:Well thats a first (1)

Macgruder (127971) | about a year and a half ago | (#42653021)

Gives me hope that something worthwhile can finally come from that side of the state.

Ouch. Admittedly, Rapid City is not a technological Mecca.

But I've worked and lived in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Pittsbugh, PA, before moving to Rapid City. And the only thing I miss is Ikea.

Re:Well thats a first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42662179)

No, but students from SDSM&T were doing physics experiments in the Homestake mine in the late 80s and there were a few tech related startups that operated out of the Electrical Engineering/Physics building during that same timeframe.

Re:Well thats a first (1)

drhank1980 (1225872) | about a year and a half ago | (#42654471)

I had the same shock seeing something from the RC journal on slashdot. I am glad they are getting the lab up and running as it was all just proposals when I moved away from Rapid City.

Re:Well thats a first (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | about a year and a half ago | (#42654521)

Be cool if they mentioned in the summary where in the world the action was taking place.

Welcome to Black Mesa (4, Funny)

hedley (8715) | about a year and a half ago | (#42652657)

Now Gordon, just push the sample forward...

Re:Welcome to Black Mesa (2)

lexman098 (1983842) | about a year and a half ago | (#42653279)

I was thinking more of the umbrella corp, but that works too I guess.

Re:Welcome to Black Mesa (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42653349)

A secret underground lab designed specifically for Science! Where's my Portal Gun?

How about the Black Diamond? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42655167)

How about the Black Diamond mine in Pittsburg/Antioch, Ca. Decent taxes, lower population. Right next to the Bay for easy shipment. And we have an old rail line that goes thru the old Navel weapons station..

Low Low Prices. Everything must go!
Biking distance from the Lawrence Livermore...Kinda.

Re:How about the Black Diamond? (1)

Grench (833454) | about a year and a half ago | (#42656029)

we have an old rail line that goes thru the old Navel weapons station..

So you can use a train to escape from the bad guys with the belly button guns?

Not suspicious at all... (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about a year and a half ago | (#42652679)

Being lured into a cave by men in lab coats who want to show you something cool?

Sounds like the U of M lab in Minnesota (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42652699)

Sounds like the University of Minnesota Underground Lab in Soudan, MN. Some of the experiments happening are the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search, the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search and cooperation with Fermilab on the NOvA experiment.

Re:Sounds like the U of M lab in Minnesota (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42653433)

That sounds kinda dirty.

Tower Soudan State Park (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42652727)

The iron ore mine in at the state park in Soudan Minnesota, on the edge of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area, has a lab at the bottom that you can tour. It does neutrino and other particle experiments in conjunction with the Fermi lab in Chicago. Its a similar experience to the one described here.

They also have a separate tour of the iron ore mine above it.

Oh neat (1)

taktoa (1995544) | about a year and a half ago | (#42653225)

An article about the Homestake neutrino lab. I'm currently interning at a neutrino physics group for a fairly large research university, and my mentor visited there a few weeks ago, so this is relevant to my interests.

shunky (-1)

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Aperture Science for real! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42653619)

Good day, Olympians, war heroes, astronauts. Welcome to the REAL Aperture Science. I'm Cave Johnson. Who's ready to make some science?

This could be you! (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42653707)

Think of all the science funding and cool high tech your community could attract if only you had an old mine. No time to waste. Start digging for all those rare earth metals now!

Re:This could be you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42662315)

and to think that there is still gold in that mine. IIRC, the only reason that Homestake sold it was that at the time it was unprofitable to extract & process the gold, not that they had run out of it. Of course, the price of gold has increased quite a bit, so I would think they are possibly regretting that decision.

Zero Game? (1)

edibobb (113989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42653799)

For some reason, that reminds me of the book Zero Game [bradmeltzer.com] .

I tried to read the article... (1)

Aardpig (622459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42653853)

...but I didn't understand what a nutrino was.

Neutrinos (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about a year and a half ago | (#42654547)

...but I didn't understand what a nutrino was.

It's a mis-spelled neutrino! ;-) Probably the easiest way to think of it is an electron but without an electric charge and even less mass (by at least five orders of magnitude). It comes in three flavours, one for each heavier cousin of the electron, and all of them are incredibly light - so light that nobody has been able to measure their masses. However the flavours oscillate over time and this can only happen if they have masses so while we have not been able to measure it we know that it is no zero. There is a far deeper lab here in Canada at SNOlab [snolab.ca] which does the same physics.

11 years? (2)

mbone (558574) | about a year and a half ago | (#42654175)

"Over eleven years ago, the possibility of using the retired Homestake Mine as an underground science laboratory was first proposed.

You mean, the place where the Homestake experiment [wikipedia.org] (the first to observe solar neutrinos) ran from 1970 to 1994?

Re:11 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42654801)

Let me tell you about Homestake.

Re:11 years? (1)

Trapezium Artist (919330) | about a year and a half ago | (#42654999)

My thought entirely: it was in use as a scientific laboratory for many, many years prior to 2001 by Raymond Davis, Jr and colleagues to detect solar neutrinos. He identified a significant deficit in the number of neutrinos detected with respect to predictions and worked with John Bahcall for many years to demonstrate that his experiment was working correctly and the standard solar neutrino model was correct. Nevertheless, people doubted them for many years.

Later however, the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Canada and other experiments demonstrated that some of the electron neutrinos created in the Sun were mutating into muon and tau neutrinos (via "neutrino oscillation") en-route from the Sun to the Earth, providing an explanation for why Davis (whose experiment was only sensitive to electron neutrinos) was detecting only a third or so of the number predicted by the standard solar model.

Vindicated, Davis was then awarded part of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002, although unfortunately, Bahcall was not similarly rewarded. Neutrino oscillation and the direct implication that neutrinos have mass are profound discoveries, since they are inconsistent with the current Standard Model of particle physics. Many physicists are now working on further experiments and theory in this area.

Re:11 years? (1)

lukej (252598) | about a year and a half ago | (#42662213)

Just for the heck of it, I'll defend my semantics. Yup... DUSEL was proposed in the early 2000s right after Homestake shutdown. And the key being, using that site "as an underground science laboratory". Prior to that, it was indeed used... "as a goldmine" (with some science on the side). So it indeed seemed like a 'new' proposal.

As the NSF was asking for RFPs at the time, there were three or four contenders (a new mine in Colorado, and an existing mine in MN, and of course Homestake). At the time, Homestake had a lot of positive elements, but also some serious problems (ownership, EPA liability, and many thousands of vertical feet of water). So, at the time it was only a "possibility", and far from a sure thing that DUSEL would ever come to fruition. I would speculate that even today, given the nature of science funding and grants... it's still a bit touch and go.

Incomplete Story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42654545)

Cave Johnson was unavailable for comment.

Ladies and gentlemen... (1)

Makawity (684480) | about a year and a half ago | (#42654919)

...welcome to my underground lair.

Please stop mining Hometree! (1)

RalphTheWonderLlama (927434) | about a year and a half ago | (#42662371)

I want to see an Avatar 2.

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