First: I just want to make a quick note here that the world did not end after this week’s Super Blood Wolf Moon. I gave it a few days just to be sure. It is what it is.
But you know what else hasn’t blown up Earth? CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.
Despite numerous strange events blamed on the LHC, warnings that it’ll turn the planet into a giant strangelet goo ball, and years of weird, terribly produced YouTube conspiracy videos, turns out the absolute best physicists could come up with was finally discovering the Higgs Boson.
Big deal, right?
Well, now that physicists are ready to look beyond the LHC’s capabilities, CERN has released a concept design for their next collider, what they call the Future Circular Collider, or FCC. This new collider would be about 100 kilometers (~62 miles) in circumference, and somewhere around 10 times more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider.
It’d be constructed in the Geneva basin, right next to the LHC.
According to their official press release, the extra power would allow physicists to “measure the known particles with precisions never achieved before.”
“Reaching energies of 100 TeV and beyond would allow precise studies of how a Higgs particle interacts with another Higgs particle, and thorough exploration of the role of the electroweak-symmetry breaking in the history of our universe.”
(Note: the LHC is meant to reach about 14 TeV.)
If the project moves forward, the Future Circular Collider would ultimately cost around 20 billion euros at the highest, and wouldn’t begin operation until the late 2050s. According to Digital Trends, Elon Musk has proposed using his Boring Company technology “to help dig the enormous tunnel,” which could reduce construction costs.
Not everyone is completely on board with the new collider, though. The prospect has led to some interesting discussion about what’s next for particle physics. As for the LHC, its days aren’t completely over, either. In 2018, they began a high-luminosity upgrade that, by 2026, will greatly increase the collider’s performance.