Weird signals in Antarctica could be hints of a new realm of physics

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NASA’s ANITA detector

NASA’s ANITA detector is on the hunt for new particles

NASA

Something strange is happening in Antarctica. A balloon floating above the icy desolation may have detected a weird particle that can’t be explained by our current understanding of physics.

NASA’s Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) detector is an array of radio antennae attached to an enormous balloon that flies 37 kilometres above Antarctica for one month at a time. It looks for radio pulses emitted by objects such as tau particles, a kind of heavy electron, emerging from the ice.

This happens when …

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