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Press Release 05-031

The Neutrino Underground

Fermilab's NuMI/MINOS experiment will fire trillions of the ghostly particles through the Earth in an effort to learn their secrets

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The MINOS cavern in Minnesota

The groundbreaking for the cavern of the MINOS far detector, deep within Minnesota's Soudan iron mine, was on July 20, 1999. The excavation of the cavern took about two years, followed by the two-year construction of the detector. The University of Minnesota Foundation commissioned a mural for the MINOS cavern, painted onto the rock wall, 59 feet wide by 25 feet high. The mural contains images of scientists such as Enrico Fermi and Wolfgang Pauli, Wilson Hall at Fermilab, George Shultz, a key figure in the history of Minnesota mining, and some surprises.

Credit: Fermilab


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NuMI and the Minos near detector

Fermilab completed the construction and testing of the Neutrino at the Main Injector (NuMI) beam line in early 2005. Protons from Fermilab's Main Injector accelerator (left) travel 1,000 feet down the beam line, smash into a graphite target and create muon neutrinos. The neutrinos traverse the MINOS near detector, located at the far end of the NuMI complex, and travel straight through the earth to a former iron mine in Soudan, Minnesota, where they cross the MINOS far detector. (The beam points slightly doward to compensate for the curvature of the Earth.) Some of the neutrinos will arrive as electron neutrinos or tau neutrinos.

Credit: Fermilab


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