22 November 2021 – Four new detection units have been added to ORCA with a 5-day intense and successful sea operation.
The operation has been performed with two ships: the Castor, equipped for deployment and precise installation of the detection units on the sea floor, and Janus, equipped with a remotely operated vehicle used for inspecting and for connecting the new units to the submarine infrastructure.
You can read all details of the operation in the daily reports published in our ORCA-blog.
Data taking with 10 detection units has been started!
One of the new detection units of ORCA outboard of Castor, preparing to its journey to the seafloor, 2,500 m below.
19 November 2021 – Our collaboration met this week for its traditional Fall meeting – the 5th to be organised online. Despite the physical distance, we had lively and interesting exchange over the week. Many new data analyses were presented, and more than 120 participants connected to the sessions. The week ended by fun social events, and the wish to chat face to face, in-person at the next meeting.
Wealso welcomed new institutes in the Collaboration:
– University of Sharjah, UAE;
– Khalifa University, UAE; –Lebedev Physical Institute, Russia; –UCLouvain, Belgium.
The new institutes will work on various topics ranging from neutrino astronomy to neutrino physics, while contributing to detector construction. Welcome in the collaboration!
Finally, we celebrated 6 months of ARCA data taking with 6 detection units! For the occasion, some of the artists in our collaboration prepared a 6–hand piano piece. Enjoy!
18 November 2021 – Right in the middle of the joint ANTARES and KM3NeT Collaboration meeting, which is taking place – once again – online, a new sea campaign has been started for ORCA. Isn’t it the right way to show that a virus can’t stop science?
Today, November 18th, seven new detection units of KM3NeT, onboard the Castor ship of Foselev Marine, sailed from La Seyne sur Mer in Southern France to the KM3NeT/ORCA deep-sea site, about 40 km from the shore. The aim of the campaign is to deploy as many of them as the weather, which is not ideal in this season, will allow.
As in the past campaigns, two vessels will be used for the operation: the detection units will be deployed and precisely installed on the sea floor from the Castor, while a remotely operated vehicle will be maneuvered from the Janus of Comex.
We will document the activites of next days through our liveblog and over our social media channels.
Remain connected with us for this new, extraordinary challenge from the deep sea!
The deck of the Castor packed with detection units, while preparing to sail.
November 17, 2021 – KM3NeT is getting ready for a new sea operation at the ORCA site near the French coast of Toulon.
Seven new detection units for ORCA are already onboard the Castor ship which will be used for the deployment.
The ship is waiting for an improvement of the weather conditions to sail from the port of La Seyne Sur Mer.
We will report on this operation with posts in the social media and in the ORCA-blog.
13 October 2021 – The KM3NeT Collaboration is proud to announce that Yahya Tayalati, professor at University Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco and member of the ANTARES and KM3NeT collaborations, has been awarded the prestigious Mustafa Prize.
The Mustafa Prize is a top science and technology award, granted biennially to the researchers and scientists of the Islamic world. Some of the criteria considered by the selection committee are the innovative and outstanding aspect of the research and the high scientific profile and international appreciation of the researcher. Professor Tayalati is receiving this prestigious award for his contribution in beyond standard model physics, especially the “Observation of the Light by Light Scattering and the Search for Magnetic Monopoles”. He was selected together with 4 other recipients among more than 500 candidates.
Yahya is the principal investigator of ANTARES and KM3NeT in Morocco. In addition to being one of the leaders of the dark matter group in the two collaborations, Yahya is leading integration activities for KM3NeT DOMs at two different sites in Morocco.
The KM3NeT Collaboration congratulates Sara Rebecca Gozzini, who has received a fellowship from the Program to support talented researchers – GenT Plan – of the Generalitat Valenciana (Valencian regional government) in Spain. The fellowship has a duration of 4 (+ 2) years to develop a research project at the Instituto de Física Corpuscular, IFIC, in Valencia and is thought as a tenure-track position promoted by the regional government for the consolidation of young researchers with international projection.
Rebecca joined ANTARES and KM3NeT in 2017. She took charge of different searches for dark matter: search for Galactic Centre WIMPs, search for heavy secluded dark matter, and a combined analysis with IceCube. She currently coordinates the working group ‘Dark Matter and Exotics Physics’ in KM3NeT.
The project presented by Rebecca for her GenT application, “Search for new physics signatures and measurement of fundamental neutrino properties with the KM3NeT telescope”, will have as priority objectives the search for dark matter signatures in KM3NeT, as well as new physics phenomena associated with neutrinos, such as non-standard interactions and others. The grant awarded to Rebecca includes also a budget to hire two PhD students.
The GenT Plan of the Generalitat Valenciana was born in 2017 as a commitment for the recovery, attraction and consolidation of researchers of international excellence in the Valencian research, development and innovation system, in all areas of knowledge to develop their R & D projects in public universities and research centres of the Valencian Community. Paco Salesa and Agustín Sánchez, also members of KM3NeT, are currently working at IFIC thanks to this initiative, too.
15 September – after the recovery of two old detection units, already left disconnected after previous sea campaigns – the so-called PPM-DU (Pre-Production Model of Detection Unit), a 3-digital optical module unit used for qualification of the project in the sea as early as in 2014, and one of the first prototype full-size detection units deployed in spring 2016, the sea campaign of ARCA has been completed today.
A lot of good work has been done in this intense week – and we are very grateful for that to the onshore and offshore teams. We also thank all the various institutes which contributed to the construction and preparation to deployment of the detection units – in next entries on this blog we will report on these demanding activities.
As a summary, during this sea campaign:
the positioning system has been maintained by installing two acoustic beacons and recovering an exhausted one (these are autonomous devices running on batteries which need to be refurbished in due time)
five interlink cables were installed on the sea bottom
three new detection units were installed, i.e.: deployed to the sea bottom, connected to the submarine infrastructure, unfurled to their nominal shape (standing for almost 700 m above the sea floor) and proved to work
the launcher vehicles of the three installed detection units and the cable trays used for deploying the cables were of course recovered, to be reused for next campaigns
After completing this set of operations, Handin Tide safely sailed back to the port of Malta.
Note that it was decided not to install the remaining two detection units which were onboard the ship, due to a mechanical issue that will be solved. These two detection units have been taken back to shore. After adequate refurbishment, they will be added to those already in preparation. Nothing is lost therefore: they will be included in the next sea campaign.
In the end… it’s time to resume detector operation of ARCA now!
14 September – the ARCA telescope is now enlarged with 3 new detection units.
The procedure for installing a detection unit in ARCA is as follows: firstly the detection unit is lowered from the deck of the ship. When it reaches a low level above the sea floor, the ROV (the submarine vehicle operated from the ship) comes in play: it takes a bridle and helps to guide the detection unit to its target position on the sea bottom; it also rotates it so that the panel for connection of the submarine cable faces the direction of the submarine junction box. Only at that point, the detection unit is lowered on the sea floor. After a quick visual check, the ROV detaches the deployment line. The ROV then picks up the cable which had been previously routed on the sea bottom and which is connected to the junction box on the opposite end, and plugs it to the detection unit. Then the onshore team is asked to perform a first round of test to ensure that the detection unit meets its functional requirements. After that, the ROV opens a release mechanism that lets the deployment vehicle on which the detection unit is furled free to go. The vehicle is buoyant and starts coming up; while doing so, it rotates, leaving the detection unit, which is tied to the anchor on the sea floor, upright – a sort of giant, and reversed yo-yo!
After unfurling, the deployment vehicle is recovered from the ship, to be reused for next deployments.
A final test of the newly installed and unfurled detection unit is then performed to confirm that the detection unit works as expected.
13 September – Still a day packed of activities today!
The status at the moment is that all interlink cables have been layed down on the sea floor and two detection units have been deployed and connected to the junction box. The detection units are still furled on their launcher vehicles; they will be allowed to unfurl tomorrow – since the launcher vehicle has to be recovered from the ship after it reaches the surface, it is better to perform this operation in the daylight.
Pre-unfurling functional tests performed from the onshore control station show that those first two detection units are in good order.
Deployments of the next detection units will continue during the night.
12 September – there has been good progress in the operation so far!
The two cable reels are also deployed. The cables for connecting four detection units are already layed on the sea bottom and connected to the junction box. There is only one cable left to install.
While proceeding with these activities, however, the weather conditions worsened. The sky was still sunny, but waves mounted high: “We have a lot of sun here, but we are dancing a lot” commented Daniele Vivolo, who is among the KM3NeT team onboard the ship.
In such situation the risks when putting the equipment in water increase significantly. It was therefore decided to put the operation on hold, waiting for an improvement of the sea state.
In late afternoon, the sea had calmed down significantly, and the operations were resumed.
As we write this post, the first detection unit of the set of five included in this campaign is already in water, travelling into the deep, dark sea, down to 3,500 meters depth. There it will meet the ROV (the submarine vehicle operated from the ship), which will take care of the next steps: to assist in carefully positioning the detection unit on the sea bottom and to connect it to the cable already in place. Have a safe trip!
In the movie: the first detection unit is prepared for deployment.