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Just the other day I read something about how, if the Large
Hadron Collider doesn't find any new particles that could be
associated with Dark Matter or Dark Energy (see link), then the
existing theories indicate that the next-size particle accelerator,
needed to discover something, would need
to be larger-diameter
than the entire Earth.
Now, as it happens, I have elsewhere described building a large
orbiting particle accelerator (also known as an "atom smasher";
see link), but what if that isn't big enough, either? Therefore we
need to start planning now, for something that MIGHT be big
I propose we build a particle-accelerator ring all the way around
the Solar System, in the Kuiper Belt, perhaps twice as far from
the Sun as Neptune orbits. That would make the ring about 18
billion kilometers in diameter. For dynamic stability, we want
the ring to be in orbit around the Sun, of course. Any particles
travelling near the speed of light (almost 300,000 km/sec) will
take more than 52 hours to go all the way around this ring.
The curvature of the ring will be so slight that we almost don't
need superconducting magnets to force the particles to follow the
curve of the ring --but out there, so far from the Sun, everything
is so cold that it is easy for things to be superconductive!
It should be obvious that such a large-scale project needs a lot of
preparation work. Equally obviously, the sooner we start planning
all the nitty-gritty details, the sooner particle physicists will be
able to play with their new toy.
As mentioned in the main text. [Vernon, Sep 13 2015]
Larger-than-Earth particle accelerator
As mentioned in the main text. The linked Idea describes a whole series of rings around the Earth, and the atom smasher is put on the biggest/last one. [Vernon, Sep 13 2015]
About the Kuiper belt
This indicates that "twice Neptune's distance from the sun" might actually be outside the belt. So? Bigger is still better! [Vernon, Sep 13 2015]
||//The curvature of the ring will be so slight that we almost don't need superconducting magnets to force the particles to follow the curve of the ring//
||so why can't the current size work ?
||We will only be able to construct a truly large
Collider when we understand how to bend space
without using cumbersome masses;
once we figure that out, the whole multi-light-
year-long loop can be fitted inside a matchbox.
||Ironically, the necessary space-bending knowledge
will come from studies done on this multi-
lightyear-long, matchbox-sized collider.
||Fortunately, the same knowledge will allow us to
bend time, thereby constructing the collider
before we know how to do so.
||You need to read "Ring World" by Larry Niven..
||[Steamboat], I read about the Ringworld decades ago.
is not needed for this Idea --and anyway, a Ringworld is
only Earth-orbit-circumference (or so), and we can do
bigger (a Kuiper Belt loop). Note that, conveniently,
Kuiper Belt (and the not-so-much-farther-away Oort
see link) is full of raw materials that could be used to
||Also, of course, there is lots and lots of hard vacuum
out there, great for keeping the main accelerator tube
empty of unwanted gas-atoms and other particles.
||Great! This idea elegantly solves problems that made the
CERN collider so problematic:
||Need to keep things super cool? Move them a long way
away from a heat source.
||Need to bend a path ever so slightly? The curvature on
such a large radius is naturally ever so slight, and the sun's
gravity is on your side when it comes to pulling particles
ever so slightly in towards the inside of the curve.
||Need a near-light-speed particle to travel for a measurable
period of time? That circumference will do it.
||There are a couple of unresolved aspects though:
||The actual design and construction of the collider
||Getting the components out that far.
||Finding enough raw materials for a construction that
||Build a generic factory equipped with 3d printer(s) and
launch it now, while we work out the collider design. By
the time it gets into position in the Kuiper belt we'll have
worked out the design for the collider and we can transmit
the designs for the factory to build while it's there.
||By the time it gets there we should also have worked out
how to transform dark matter into matter so we can just
extract as much material as we need from out of nowhere,
saving us the task of transporting it all that distance.
||//worked out how to transform dark matter into
matter// Hammerite do a very good gloss white.
||[Bigs], you are so right, except for the stuff you
||By and large, the statistical support for things is
pretty solid before they formally announce. And
it's rock solid for anything before that.
||What's _really_ worrying is What It All Means.
Basically, if an equation can be made, its
predictions are always fulfilled, which is a bit
spooky. Either it means that we bring physics into
existence through equations, or there's an even
deeper link between mathematics and physical
reality than people appreciate.
||What nobody has yet really addressed is the
question of the computational power of space
itself. So far, it appears to be unlimited, unless you
take the view that quantum weirdness is down to
space not being able to keep up with the maths.
||Keeping track of all of those digits of pi for all of those
circles spinning around does take a lot cpu time, you know.
||//I wasn't convinced.// Well, that's that for modern
||//a programmer out there// it's a distinct
possibility. If we assume that any intelligence will
eventually evolve to the point where it can create
simulated intelligences in a simulated universe; and
if we further assume that it can do this many times
over; then the logical conclusion is that we are
many times more likely to be simulated than not.
||So, as for logistics...
The Oort cloud contains massive amounts of Hydrogen. Liquid Hydrogen is superconductive in certain conditions, so obviously we just need to collect and stretch out a micro-thin Hydrogen river, which we'll keep coherent using...
... um... an almost infinite series of electromagnetic geon vortex rings... yeah that's the ticket, no Wait!, scratch that... one absolutely Ginormous electromagnetic vortex ring with the river of Hydrogen suspended within it.
||There is another advantage to having a very large ring,
that wasn't mentioned in the main text. That is, if it
takes more than 50 hours for a batch of particles to
circle the ring, it would be very easy to have many
batches of particles circling simultaneously, say 1
second apart --or even more frequently. Our puny
Earth-bound accelerators are far to small to allow much
in the way of that feature!
||In a way, having multiple batches of circling particles is
necessary, since on Earth one batch passes a given
interaction zone many times per second. It may
actually be a plus, giving detector equipment some time
to reset between batches of particles passing through
||// The quantum physicists are just guessing though. //
||And they're wrong at the same time.