The Antares undersea neutrino experiment, scheduled for deployment 2400 m down in the Mediterranean off the south coast of France, successfully laid its sea cable at the beginning of October. This is the first important milestone on the way to the deployment of a full detector by 2004.
Antares (Between neutrinos and the deep blue sea) will study neutrinos by detecting muons produced through neutrino interactions in the rock or seawater near the detector. In its first incarnation it will have 10 strings of photomultipliers anchored to the seafloor in a 0.1 km2 array. These will all be powered from and read out through the standard underwater telecommunications cable that was laid in October. A sonar system will monitor the relative positions of the photomultipliers and, somewhat unusually for a particle physics experiment, bioluminescent fish will form an important source of background.
A proof-of-principle experiment was successfully carried out from 1996 to 1999 and, all being well, the Antares collaboration hopes to scale up to a full 1 km3 after completion of the first phase of the experiment.