Messages from the Edge of the Universe

2019, Science  -  42 min Leave a Comment
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Neutrinos are particles that serve an essential function in the construction of our universe. Originating from deep within the galaxy millions of light years away, they are one of the most abundant particles in the universe. Yet little is known about them. Where do they come from and how do they develop? The documentary Messages from the Edge of the Universe follows teams of researchers as they seek the answers that have eluded us for many decades.

There are plenty of theories involving neutrinos, but very little verifiable fact. We know that they resemble the electron, but without the electric charge. Hundreds of billions of them can move through the universe at the speed of light, and flow through most matter in the universe including the human body. Their high energy indicates a birth outside of our solar system from an even more energetic source such as dark matter.

The filmmakers follow two research projects as they work to reach definitive conclusions. In the South Pole, mobile drilling stations are burrowing sensors deep within the ice to isolate and track the characteristics of passing neutrinos. Meanwhile, along the coast of France, a research initiative known as KM3NeT develops high-powered telescopes that are specially designed for neutrino detection. As shown in the film, these two projects employ the expertise of other researchers and developers around the globe, including a light sensor manufacturer in Berlin.

Through ice and sea, the film follows these researchers as they study every line of data, brainstorm their next step, and devise technologies that can better serve them in their pursuit. The questions they raise are both practical and lofty. How does the neutrino manage to fly unhindered through most objects? In the distant future, might neutrinos serve as an avenue of communication between our species and extraterrestrials?

Messages from the Edge of the Universe is an absorbing look into one of the great mysteries in modern astronomy. It's also a tribute to the dedicated researchers who regard the universe as their laboratory, and look to the heavens in search of the answers that will expand the consciousness of our species.

Directed by: Martina Treusch