Physicists scour the cosmos for dark matter from the bottom of a gold mine

Scientists in the United States are searching for dark matter from the bottom of a gold mine in South Dakota.

AP reports that since 2003 scientists from the University of California have been working on what's known as the "Large Underground Xenon" experiment, in an efforts to better understand the nature of the mysterious "dark matter" which is believed to permeate the cosmos.

Their labors are now reaching fruition with the lowering of the world's most sensitive dark matter detector onto the floor of a South Dakota mine over a kilometre and a half in depth.

Scientists hope that the depth of the mine, as well as the additional measure of placing the detectors inside a huge 70,000 gallon water tank, should provide it with sufficient insulation from cosmic radiation to discern dark matter which would be undetectable from the earth's surface.

The testing equipment will soon be activated, with scientists hoping to commence data collection in February. Once data input commences it will take one or two months before the detector becomes the most sensitive instrument of its type in the world.

The experiment could enable scientists to obtain crucial information on the composition and origins of the known cosmos.