Observatory 1.5 Miles Deep Under Antarctic Ice

Photo: The National Geographic

Photo: The National Geographic

Some secrets of the universe may be found by looking underground. Under the South Pole to be exact. There, under the ice, is the world’s largest neutrino observatory used to find clues to cosmic mysteries and subatomic particles that can travel through almost any matter. Via The National Geographic:

An IceCube sensor is dropped into 1 of 86 holes drilled into the Antarctic ice in a December 2010 picture.

To reach the icy depths, scientists designed and built the Enhanced Hot Water Drill, which can penetrate more than 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) of ice in less than two days. The team then fed the IceCube detector—86 cable strings that each contain 60 neutrino sensors—into the holes.

Each cable is equipped with another four sensors at the surface, which together make up one IceCube array. The detector and arrays combine to make the IceCube Neutrino Observatory.

Situated at the geographic South Pole, the U.S. $279 million observatory-the largest of its kind-will search for neutrinos, mysterious subatomic particles that can travel through almost any type of matter.

[Continues at The National Geographic]