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Can We Look Inside the Earth?

(Inside Science) — Construction for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, also known as DUNE, began this July and is scheduled to be completed around 2024. The $1.5 billion facility will be located almost a mile underground, inside the former Homestake gold mine in Lead, South Dakota. Scientists plan to use DUNE to find answers to some of the most important questions in physics today by closely examining the neutrino, one of the most poorly understood fundamental particles.

DUNE will focus on studying some of the most fundamental questions in modern physics — from why there is so much more matter than anti-matter in our universe, to how black holes can be formed by supernovae. But could this state-of-the-art neutrino detector be used for something else as well? In August, an international group of scientists published a paper in the journal Physical Review D with a rather novel idea — to use DUNE as a scanner to study the internal structure of the earth.