Why Go Into Space To Be Bombarded By Cosmic Particles?

Bombarded by cosmic rays in space, Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm were transformed into the Fantastic Four. Now scientists in Japan are creating rare cosmic particles on demand. Where can I sign up for super powers?

Like Reed Richards, I'm stretching things a bit. What a multinational team of scientist in Japan is doing is firing man-made neutrino particles from a particle accelerator to a target 185 miles away, which is just as impressive, though probably not nearly as likely to result in me gaining rock hard skin and a special temporal sense that tells me when to punch things.

Neutrinos are comic particles that result from certain types of nuclear decay and nuclear reactions, such as the ones that occur when cosmic rays strike atoms, turning ordinary people into extraordinary super heroes. The neutrinos that generally reach the Earth are the result of the nuclear reaction in our Sun.

I should point out that more than 50 trillion solar neutrinos pass through the human body every second without incident. I'm just hoping that man-made neutrinos might be a little different.

And that's one of the facts that scientist are hoping to prove as well, by shooting neutrinos from the particle accelerator into the gigantic Super-Kamiokande detector, which is located inside of a 12 million gallon tank of water surrounded by 11,000 light sensors, in an abandoned mine 1km below the surface of the Earth. To the left you can see the luckiest workers alive inspecting the sensors.

Scientists Create Rare Cosmic Particles On Earth [Popular Mechanics, or PopMech as the cool kids say it]


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