Setting up of Neutrino Observatory

  1. The Government of India has approved a project to build the India-based Neutrino Observatory(INO) at Pottipuram in Theni District of Tamil Nadu.
  2. A neutrino is a subatomic particle with no electric charge.They are considered to be the second most abundant particle in the universe after photons or light particles.
  3. Neutrinos were initially thought to be massless particles but recent experiments suggest that they indeed have a very small mass.
  4. Currently,three types of neutrinos called flavors are known:(a)Electron Neutrino (b)Muon Neutrino and (c)Tauon Neutrino.Further,Neutrinos can change from one flavor to another as they travel.This process is called neutrino oscillation.
  5. Neutrinos are important as they hold the key to several important and fundamental questions on the origin of the Universe and the energy production in stars. 
  6. Further,if the properties of neutrinos can be studied better,they can also be used in astronomy to discover what the universe is made up of.
  7. The India-based Neutrino Observatory(INO) is a proposed science underground laboratory.Its primary goal is to study the properties and interactions of neutrinos.
  8. INO project is jointly supported by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science & Technology (DST) with DAE acting as the nodal agency.Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR),Mumbai is the host institute for INO project.
  9. The objective of INO is to study neutrinos produced from cosmic rays in Earth’s atmosphere to make precision measurements of the parameters related to neutrino oscillations.
  10. INO will also study mass ordering of three types of neutrino by using Iron Calorimeter(ICAL) detector.