In an old gold mine a mile below the ground, within a titanium tank filled with an unusual liquified gas, scientists have started the search for what so far has been unfindable—the dark matter.
Scientists are pretty confident that the invisible stuff makes up most of the universe’s mass, and likely we wouldn’t be here if it was not present. However, they are not sure about what it is. The race to solve this considerable mystery has brought one team to the depths under Lead, South
“The question for scientists is basic,” said Kevin Lesko, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “What is this great place I live in? Right now, 95% of it is a mystery.”
The intention is that a mile of dirt and rock, a giant tank, an additional tank, and the purest titanium in the world will prevent nearly all the cosmic rays and particles that fly around and through every day. However, dark matter particles, according to scientists, can prevent all those obstacles. They wish that one will fly into the vat of liquid xenon in the inner tank and slam into a xenon nucleus like two balls in a game of pool, reflecting its existence in a flash of light detected by a device called “the time projection chamber.”
Scientists declared on Thursday that the five-year, $60m exploration finally got underway two months ago following a delay caused by the pandemic. Till now, the device has detected nothing. No dark matter, at least.
If all their analyses and theories are correct, they estimate that they will see only a couple of fleeting indications of dark matter within a year. The team of 250 scientists thinks they will get 20 times more data within the next couple of years.