Written by fastcompany.com Wednesday, 22 December 2010 14:42
Late last week, construction of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory wrapped up at the National Science Foundation’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. The team of international scientists behind the effort has come up with something truly remarkable in building the world’s largest neutrino observatory. The massive telescope, which is the size of a cubic kilometer and located 1,400 meters underground, took a decade to build and cost approximately $271 million. Oh, and if you lined up the world’s three tallest skyscrapers, their collective height would be shorter than this telescope.
IceCube is operated by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the National Science Foundation, with funding provided by the United States, Belgium, Germany, and Sweden. Researchers from Barbados, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are also involved in the project.
For IceCube, construction at the South Pole all came down to their scientific goals. The observatory is designed to find extremely high energy neutrinos—tiny subatomic particles—originating from supernova explosions, gamma-ray bursts and black holes, with an emphasis on expanding humankind’s knowledge of Dark Matter. Neutrinos, according to current scientific theory, play a crucial part in detecting Dark Matter.