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The Soudan Underground Laboratory is a general-purpose science facility, which provides the deep underground environment required by a variety of sensitive experiments. The Lab currently hosts two large projects: MINOS, which investigates elusive and poorly understood particles called neutrinos; and CDMS II, a "dark-matter" experiment which may help explain how galaxies are formed. Both were built for basic research - exploring how the universe works - but similar efforts have spawned practical (if unforeseen) byproducts, including the world-wide web and even advanced medical imaging techniques.
What is a neutrino?
A neutrino is a tiny particle similar to an electron but without its electric charge. Neutrinos are produced by natural radioactive decay and inside the sun and other stars. They don't interact very often with normal matter, but MINOS can still teach us how they behave, and how important they are to the rest of the universe.
What is "dark matter"?
Actually, no one really knows! What we do know (from astronomical observations) is that there is a lot of dark matter around - perhaps 90% or more of the material in the universe. We can't see it, but we know it's there from the gravitational force it exerts. Neutrinos may make up part of the dark matter, but another possibility is very heavy (so-far undiscovered) particles nicknamed "WIMPs" (Weakly-Interacting Massive Particles). CDMS II searches for WIMPs that may have been produced shortly after the,"Big Bang," the cataclysmic explosion that formed the universe some 15 billion years ago.
Originally posted by PrisonerOfSociety
p.s. no wonder it will take so long, that poor guy with the drill has his work cut out