It’s lived in two different countries and is about to make its way to a third. It’s the largest machine of its kind, designed to find extremely elusive particles and tell us more about them. Its pioneering technology is the blueprint for some of the most advanced science experiments in the world. And this summer, it will travel across the Atlantic Ocean to its new home (and its new mission) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.
It’s called ICARUS, and you can follow its journey over land and sea with the help of an interactive map at IcarusTrip.fnal.gov
The ICARUS detector measures 18 meters (60 feet) long and weighs 120 tons. It began its scientific life under a mountain at the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics’ (INFN) Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy in 2010, recording data from a beam of particles called neutrinos sent by CERN. The detector was shipped to CERN in 2014, where it has been upgraded and refurbished, at the CERN Neutrino Platform, in preparation for its overseas trek.
“We are very pleased and proud that CERN has been able to contribute to the refurbishment of the ICARUS detector and we are looking forward to first results from the Fermilab short-baseline neutrino programme in the coming years,” said Fabiola Gianotti, Director-General of CERN.
When it arrives at Fermilab, the massive machine will take its place as part of a suite of three detectors dedicated to searching for a new type of neutrino beyond the three that have been found. Discovering this so-called “sterile” neutrino, should it exist, would rewrite scientists’ picture of the universe and the particles that make it up.