Underground science: Mirrors, lasers and accelerators

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    The labratory has a large main room, open above, but partitioned into semi-rooms devoted to different experiment areas.

    The extreme east of the main room houses a small machinist’s shop. Much of the instruments used in experiments can be ordered. However, because research often demands novel designs, Harris said, “we build all the equipment that we need.”

    The middle of the room is devoted to thin-film experiments. Last spring, these experiments yielded uranium-coated mirrors used by a NASA satellite to measure the effects of magnetic fields on solar storms.

    Turley said the department is working on more mirrors to be used on missions to Mars.

    At the far end of the labratory sits a proton accelerator, where energy bombards particles to determine their makeup.

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