This Is World's Largest Super Collider That Never Was

Illustration for article titled This Is World's Largest Super Collider That Never Was

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva is 17 miles (27 kilometers) long. It's an incredible machine capable of releasing 14 TeV (Tera-electronvolts) of energy, which gave the Europeans the lead in experimental physics. But back in the early 80s, there was going to be another beast that could have obliterated the LHC's record figures right here in the USA: the Desertron.

Desertron. What an awesome name. Officially—and for the boring types—it was known as the Superconducting Super Collider, a whooping 54.1 miles (87 kilometers) of tunnels capable of producing a collision energy of 40 TeV. This titanic complex was going to be operative in Waxahachie, Texas, south of Dallas.


Conceived in 1983, the Desertron project started in 1987, when Congress approved $4.4 billion for the project.

Construction began in 1991 but Desertron was cancelled only two years later in favor of another major endeavor: the International Space Station. Some argue that the ISS wasn't as good for science as Desertron. The idea of the ISS was born after the end of the Cold War and, rather than being a tool for scientific supremacy, it represented a new era of international cooperation in a world that needed to be free of the risk of nuclear apocalypse. In addition of being the symbol of a new world, the ISS was also designed to turn part of the former Soviet Union's military industrial complex into an era of peaceful international space collaboration.

Desertron soon went over budget, with the cost estimation reaching $14 billion when it was cancelled in 1993. At that time, $2 billion had been spent already, distributed between buildings, hardware and the construction of 14.6 miles (23.5 kilometers) of tunnels. [Wikipedia and Sometimes Interesting]

Illustration for article titled This Is World's Largest Super Collider That Never Was

The abandoned Desertron complex's building in Waxahachie, Texas.

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Nothing to See Here!

I remember when everyone thought that the LHC would create a blackhole and destroy the Earth.

Well, actually, someone said to me in the morning at school "Tomorrow there'll be a black hole, and 'so and so' said they're going to use you to block it" (As in, I'm fat enough to block the black hole, lol).

I had no idea what he was talking about, then the first class started and I spoke to my friend who knows a lot. He said "Yeah", which made me shit myself (Not literally) and for the rest of the class I was literally thinking to myself "Why are we still learning when we'll die tomorrow?" and I spent the whole fucking day telling everyone that there'll be a black hole.

Everyone was talking about it, people were discussing it, sharing their knowledge on it; "They have hundreds of safety checks, nothing will go wrong, don't worry" and another person "Maybe we'll live on another planet!".

The next day, the entire school knew. It was about 8:30AM GMT that it was supposed to happen. Everyone stopped, it was silent, we all looked East (The direction the LHC is) and some people were going "I can hear something rumbling!".

I remember someone saying it would take 5 hours for the black hole to reach the I looked out the window 5 hours later.

Wow, it's been 4 years. Is that it?