Unknown ‘beams’have been detected by NASA shooting out from under Antarctica.
Strange events at the South Pole are more easily explained by new physics, says says Derek Fox, an observational astrophysicist at Pennsylvania State University. Like the opening scene of a Hugo-winning science fiction novel, scientists have detected a mystery particle shooting into space from deep beneath the ancient South Polar ice cap. It appears to be a high-energy particle that’s traveled through space, for billions of years crashed into the Earth, and back out again defying what physicists call the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics. But cosmic rays shouldn’t do that, scientists began to wonder whether these mysterious beams are made of particles never seen before.
“An ultrahigh-energy cosmic ray on the far side of Earth could have spawned a new type of particle, about 500 times as massive as the proton, that pierced the planet before decaying to produce the upward air shower. A theoretical framework called supersymmetry offers candidates that would do the trick, Fox added.
Since March 2016, researchers have been puzzling over two events in Antarctica where cosmic rays did burst out from the Earth, and were detected by NASA’s Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA)—a balloon-borne antenna hovering over the southern continent, leading physicists to proposed several theories for these “upward going” cosmic rays, from sterile neutrinos (neutrinos that rarely ever bang into matter) to “atypical dark matter distributions inside the Earth.”