What happens when you smash together atoms with ten the force of the Large Hadron Collider?
Well, we might get to find out in 2040.
CERN has unveiled plans for a successor to the Large Hadron Collider, and it is even larger. Called the Future Circular Collider, its construction is indeed set for the future. The proposed site would measure 100 kilometers around and take at least twenty years to build and begin operating.
The Large Hadron Collider was an atom-smashing success- despite initial fears that switching it on could cause the apocalypse. It's responsible for the discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle, the last particle needed to check the accuracy of the Standard Model of Physics- an important building block in our understanding of the world. The FCC could potentially surpass that and take on dark matter. Simply put, a bigger machine means bigger (or smaller!) discoveries.
It's a long way off from extraterrestrial greenhouses, but it's a start. China's moonshot has not only resulted in a probe landing, but an historic first- the first seed sprouting on a celestial body other than Earth. Of course, greens have been grown on the International Space Station before, but the moon is a good deal farther away.
A shoot of cotton seed has grown onboard China's Chang'e lander. It's inside a small biosphere, containing cotton, arabidopsis – a small, flowering plant – potato seeds, fruit-fly eggs and yeast. The idea is of course to test the feasibility of growing fresh food in space.