By Talli Nauman, Native Sun News, Health & Environment Editor:
LEAD — On Saturday, July 9, Rosebud Sioux tribal member Connie Giroux donned a miner’s hardhat and lamp, safety glasses, battery belt, steel-toed boots, and a reflective vest. Then she took an elevator ride down a shaft through granite rock to a cavern 4,850 feet below the earth’s surface.
It was not strange to her. She does it practically every day in her job as a supervisor at the Sanford Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL).
What made July 9 noteworthy is that her work was different because of Neutrino Day. She was conducting the first high-definition video conferencing from the depths with visitors up top who attended the fourth annual free science fair.
Giroux could explain to them that her usual work is part of a pretty small crew of a privileged few who are conducting some pretty big world class experiments down there – most conspicuously in the Majorana Demonstrator Project and the Large Underground Xenon Detector (LUX).
As a chapter closed in the international race for space last week with the scheduling of NASA’s last shuttle launch, a chapter opened in the comparatively new global race for the underground, in which Sanford lab is conducting the two experiments. One is to characterize neutrinos and the other is to prove the existence of so-called dark matter.