A New Generation of Dark Matter Experiments

This spring, ten tons of liquid xenon will be pumped into a tank nestled nearly a mile underground at the heart of a former gold mine in South Dakota. With this giant vat of chemicals, scientists hope to detect the historically undetectable, a mysterious substance that makes up more than 85 percent of all mass in our universe: dark matter. “One of the annoying features of dark matter is we have really no idea [what it is],” says Murdock Gilchriese, project director of this experiment, known as LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ). “We know it exists, but as a particle and what its mass is, there's a huge range.”

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