Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Abandoned Remains of the Superconducting Super Collider

Long before the Large Hadron Collider was even sketched out on paper, the US Department of Defense embarked on an ambitious project of creating the world’s largest particle accelerator. Construction on the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC), as it was named, began on 1991 in the vicinity of Waxahachie, Texas. Its planned ring circumference was 87.1 kilometers with an energy of 20 TeV per beam of protons – numbers that surpasses those of the now operational Large Hadron Collider by a factor of three (27 kilometer with an energy of 7TeV per beam) .

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The intention of the collider was to detect the elusive Higgs boson, a particle that is thought to exist in all matter and which gives particles their mass, and provide clues to other mysteries of the universe.

The initial estimate of the Superconducting Super Collider was $4.4 billion, a figure that eventually rose to $12 billion. Finally, after spending some $2 billion on the project, the Congress pulled the plug. When the project was canceled, 22.5 km of tunnel and 17 shafts to the surface were already dug.

For almost fifteen years the SSC was nothing more than the most expensive hole in Texas.

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In 2006, Arkansan multimillionaire Johnnie Bryan Hunt bought the complex for just $6.5 million in the hope of turning it into one of the largest and most-secure data storage facilities in America. Hunt’s unique selling point for Collider Data Center was its location and infrastructure. The collider sits on an independent power grid capable of delivering 10 megawatts of power (and up to 100 megawatts if needed), and it has its own dedicated fiber optic line. Its two warehouses can support floor loads of 500 pounds per square foot, perfect for the enormous servers that Hunt intended to buy. The entire complex is clear of flight paths and out of hurricane, tsunami, earthquake and flood zones.

Then, in December 2006, less than six months after investing in the property, Hunt slipped on a patch of ice, broke his skull and died. With the driving force behind the Collider Data Center project gone, it’s future was thrown into doubt and eventually it was shelved.

Today, the collider complex remains abandoned and run down with shattered glass, broken wall titles and plywood barred windows. The proposed collider is however still at sale – the current appraised is at $20 million.

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The tunnel, when it was still under construction (below)

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Sources: Wired, Wikipedia, HEP.net

28 comments:

  1. Thanks, Obama? Are you that fucking dense? This project was cancelled by Congress 19 years ago!

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    Replies
    1. Cancelled by Dumbocrats

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    2. The process of being canceled was started by the RepubLieCons before Clinton. Clinton tried to stop it from being canceled but just like Obama and the stimulus package, he had to sign off on something he didn't start and ultimately take the blame. Rich old men didn't understand anything about the project just that the possible technology that could come from this thing was a threat to the oil companies and just like everything that threatens oil, it was killed over about the same amount of money Exxon alone collects a year in corporate welfare.

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    3. Bill Clinton, Osama bin O'bozo- doesn't matter. Democrats don't care about advancement of the country. They want to loot it and buy votes. They see public office as a license to steal. Their programs do nothing but waste money and provide no tangible benefit other than the creation of masses of dependent losers that can't survive without more goverenment cheese. Only the worthless and weak parasites or most decadent wealthy filth have any vested interest in keeping them in power.

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    4. Reagan authorized the project, you idiot.

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  2. Another republitard, slowly drooling and grunting the party line from Faux News. Pathetic

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  3. Now you've done it. Two weeks from now after he finishes subtracting 2012 from 19 and figuring out how to spell Clinton, he'll blame the whole thing on who first took office in 1993: Bill Clinton.

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  4. Out of 50 states, they decided to put a massive hole spreaded 27 kilometers under the ground . My house is less than 20 miles from the factory. My older sister said that when we first moved here , the land was so cheap because of a chemical malfunction that happened before. Coincidence ? Now in the same building, there lies a chemical factory that had a massive explosion a couple months back. Doesn't anyone think about the fact that people live around here!?

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    1. I just was drifting through. Yes you do have a concern, but it is your own lack of mental capacity. If you cant understand something, that does not make it bad, or scary. Shut up until you do you research.

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  5. Grew up in Waxahachie. The tunnel was going to run under my backyard. The biggest thing I remember about the SSC is how fucking miserable a good portion of the town was when the project was scrapped. Thousands of people had moved to Waxahachie in order to work on the SSC and they were now stuck in a small Texas town with families to support and no jobs. That was a very dark year.

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    1. Do you know if the plant site, or any of the land that was dug up is accessible? I am very interested in taking some photographs. My email: middlegray@yahoo.com. Thanks!

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  6. Now if you want to create jobs and grow the economy, fund programs like this. That’s what FDR did to get things going again; Tennessee Valley Authority (rural electrification), massive National Park building. Projects like this would put millions to work, create jobs at every level, put money in people’s pockets so they can spend more and there goes the economy, running fine again. But don’t expect such a plan to pass the Tea-petty repubitards. If it doesn’t benefit big business directly and solely, forget it.

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  7. The real problem is not that big business is bad, it’s just lost its perspective and now only sees profit and can’t think to the future. On our current course we’re headed for stagnation. Without government research there will be nothing really new. Big ideas and big advances take big money and big business just doesn’t want to spend that money. Government has to spend that money.

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  8. Good thing Obama shut down the space program huh?

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  9. It was GW Bush who scrapped the funding due to the cost of the first gulf War. Now the research is being done in France . way to go Bush!

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    Replies
    1. Bill Clinton was in office at the time genius

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  10. It's so funny watching you guys from across the pond. Here in the UK, we get US news on every news programme on TV due to, well, the fact that we take a big view of the World and are interested in other countries.
    We covered the entire election, from the Primaries to the Debates, and all night on the election night itself.
    All they did was interview Republicans moaning that too much money is being spent on public programs; and Democrats moaning that Republicans are sabotaging every useful Bill in order to make the Democrats look bad in order to be re-elected..
    That's very sensible, huh? ..As long as you tow the party line, don't worry about the people or useful Bills Republicans - just do what will make your party look good, and not something good for your country. Just do what your party wants and abandon your brain for the sake of your beloved party..
    It seems the brainless legacy of Dubya lives on in the Republican party.
    Europe sighed a collective breath of relief last week, I can tell you..

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    1. You are an ignorant European liberal. My guess is your member of the all knowing Labour party.

      Democrats do what they think is best for the country and
      Republicans do what they think is best for the country.
      You assume only Liberal democrats know what is best. How idiotic is that.

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    2. Euro-trash: you are cordially invited to screw up your own country and leave it to us to fight over how we're going to screw up our own.

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  11. The space program was not shut down. The space shuttles were old old old technology(80’s). The country needs a new vehicle and they are working on one.

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    1. They were newer technology than the Soyuz rockets were using now... You wouldn't dismantle every car in the country in order to build a better one. But yea the rest you said was true.

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  12. Just to set the record straight it was the Clinton / Gore administration in its 2nd year that pulled the plug on the project way before Bush got in to office

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  13. The lobbyists closed the project. The lobbyists were paid by the oil and pharmaceutical companies who knew the research at the SSC would damage their profits. They gave Gore and Clinton false information about the project being behind schedule and over cost. Gore admitted he knew nothing about the project until SSC representatives forced meetings with him. Hazel O'Leary the Energy Secretary tried to give the SSC workers a quiet send off but they refused and demanded and received large severance packages.

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  14. Thanks a lot Bin Laden

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  15. Clinton could have saved the project if he had wanted. It was political retribution against a state that did not vote for him.

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