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The Abandoned Texas Superconducting Super Collider: Colossal Expense Can Cause Colossal Failure

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Although effectively closed, the aptly-named Superconducting Super Collider is a massive example of just how big things in Texas can actually be…including failures. Presently owned by a private company and not available for public viewing, this particle physics project was 10 years in the making when it was abandoned halfway through its construction.

It would have been record-breaking had Congress not shut the project down due to skyrocketing costs during its construction stage. If you’re wondering what exactly a supercollider is, it goes by another name you might recognize: an “Atom Smasher.” In effect, large accelerators such as this project are being used today in particle physics as colliders (i.e., the LHC, or Large Hadron Collider, at CERN) as well as being used as synchrotron light sources for the purpose of studying condensed matter physics.

Colossal Expense Can Cause Colossal Failure: The Abandoned Texas Superconducting Super Collider

Photo: Facebook/Jasson King Fans Official

The Texas Superconducting Super Collider would have dwarfed CERN’s LHC, according to reports. It was designed as an enormous underground ring complex situated close to Waxahachie and had it been allowed to go forward, would have been considered the most energetic particle accelerator in the world. The project’s construction commenced in the early ‘90s, but only 14 miles of tunnel were bored-out prior to the sunsetting of the whole thing. It was originally forecasted at a few billion dollars (only!). As it progressed, however, financial projects ballooned to more than $11 billion. This, coupled with a lack of public knowledge and, subsequently, their support, worked to effectively warehouse the complex at its early stages.

Colossal Expense Can Cause Colossal Failure: The Abandoned Texas Superconducting Super Collider

Photo: Wikipedia

Although a colossal expense, at present, the above-ground component of the site still remains, drawing parallels to a dilapidated office complex in the middle of rural Texas. However, your first glance would scarcely allow you to deduce that beneath this structure are miles of tunnels which were cleared of equipment and flooded with water for preservation purposes. Plans to refurbish the site and make better future use of it formerly included data storage and even a mushroom farm, but in spite of outcry and protest by area residents, the land was allowed to be sold to a chemical company – Magnablend Inc.