Video: Assembly of prototype blocks for NOvA detector

This time-lapse video shows custom-made gluing and lifting machines to assemble prototype detector blocks for the NOvA experiment.

In March, the NOvA collaboration will start the assembly of its 15,000-ton neutrino detector in Ash River, Minnesota. When complete, the NOvA detector will be one of the largest plastic structures ever to be built. It will comprise 368,640 tubes of white PVC that will support the entire weight of the detector. This time-lapse video shows the assembly of prototype detector blocks at Argonne National Laboratory using custom-made lifting and gluing machines. Scientists tested another critical piece of equipment for the assembly of the detector, the NOvA pivoter, at Fermilab in November; see this second video.

The NOvA collaboration will also build a smaller 222-ton neutrino detector at Fermilab, inside a cavern to be excavated next to the MINOS hall, 330 feet underground. When operational, the two detectors will examine the world’s highest-intensity, longest-distance neutrino beam, sent from Fermilab to Ash River—500 miles straight through the earth. By comparing the composition of the neutrino beam in Ash River with the original one at Fermilab, the NOvA collaboration expects to discover how the masses of the three known types of neutrinos stack up. Scientists from 28 institutions are working on the NOvA experiment.

Kurt Riesselmann