|Inside the Hadron collider, now that Higgs Boson has been discovered Cern is looking to the future for particle experimentation|
After discovering the smallest particle that could ever exist, the team at Cern is now considering scaling up - with a brand new collider.
The Geneva-based team which discovered what they believe to be the Higgs Boson particle this summer is now looking to the future, and are proposing a new underground accelerator with a circumference of 50miles (80kms) - three times the size of the current one under Geneva.
The collider will be used to solve a new batch of mysteries of the universe, such as how gravity interacts on a molecular level.
Any new collider is unlikely to be built until 2025, but the Cern team wish to get a head-start, concerned by the 25-year wait it took between proposing the first collider, and its completion in 2008.
The team is considering a range of options now the original $4.6billion particle collider has served its intended purpose.
Another option is to tear down the colliders in the current tunnel, which runs in a 27km (17miles) circular track around 150m underground near Lake Geneva, and build more sensitive equipment in its place.
Either scheme would cost billions of dollars, which would be shared between Cern's 20 member states.
It is still not clear how gravity can operate both at the particle level, and at the level of planets, stars and solar systems.
The team said they were worried that scientific discovery would be stalled until a new collider was developed, citing how Peter Higgs, who first proposed his Higgs Boson theory in 1964, had to wait 58 years to see his ideas validated.
The first collider was suggested in 1983, but work did not start on building it until 1998.
Now a team of 18 scientists are drawing up a roadmap for Cern, including designs for new machines.
Their paper stated: 'The new machine could be installed in the LHC tunnel ... Alternatively, it could be installed in a new, longer tunnel, using a tunnel circumference of 80km.'
The suggestions will be discussed at a European Strategy Preparatory Group in Krakow in Poland this week.
Jon Butterworth, professor of physics at University College London, who represents Britain on the group, told The Australian: 'It means we have a wild new frontier of physics to explore.
'Now we need to find out far more about it. We can do some of that work by upgrading the LHC, but in the end it will need a more powerful machine.'