Desertron: The Superconducting Super Collider – Waxahachie, Texas - Atlas Obscura
Desertron: The Superconducting Super Collider is permanently closed.

Desertron: The Superconducting Super Collider

A Texas-sized particle collider that was abandoned due to its Texas-sized budget. 


Everything is bigger in Texas, and that doesn’t exclude multi-billion dollar super colliders — or failure.

Both are on full display at the simply-named Superconducting Super Collider, a massive particle physics installation 10 years in the making which would have been record-breaking had it not been abandoned midway through construction.

Like CERN’s Large Hadron Collider on steroids, the Superconducting Super Collider was to be a huge underground ring complex beneath the area near Waxahachie, Texas, that would have been the world’s most energetic particle accelerator. Construction on the site began in the early 1990s, but only got so far as 14 miles of tunnel being bored before Congress shut the project down due to the exploding costs of the project. What began as a few-billion-dollar marvel was quickly projected to cost over $11 billion after construction began and, combined with a lack of public knowledge or support, quickly smothered the complex in its infancy.   

Today the site looks like a decrepit office park dropped in the middle of nowhere on the surface, while the tunnels were stripped of any equipment and filled with water to preserve them. However if you can locate the buildings above ground, you can still find portals to the miles of drowned tunnel.

Plans for the derelict site have included everything from mushroom farms to data storage in the years since its colossal failure, but despite local protests, the land was purchased by a chemical company who will hopefully find a good use for one of America’s most ambitious scientific missteps.

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This site is now effectively closed; it's owned by Magnablend, Inc. and is an active site.

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October 10, 2014

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