BATAVIA, Ill. — Ground has been broken on the site of a physics experiment that would send subatomic particles 800 miles underground from the Chicago suburbs to South Dakota.

Friday afternoon’s groundbreaking for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility was held simultaneously at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, and Sanford Lab in South Dakota. Construction over the next decade will create the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment . The project includes 1,000 scientists and engineers from more 30 countries.

The experiment would send a beam of neutrinos 800 miles through the earth to let scientists study their interaction with other particles. The beam would be one of the biggest U.S. particle physics projects in many years.

Neutrinos are so fast and small that scientists have barely detected them for study. Experts say the ultimate goal is to better understand the origins of the universe.

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