The particles that some physicists think have travelled faster than light are going to be put to the test by a U.S. government agency; it hopes to disprove the findings, which defy accepted physics and hint at the possibility of time travel.
Fermilab, a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory in Chicago, Ill., which has definitely not been sent from the future, is set to test the European results, which claim that some neutrino particles have travelled faster than light, in theory arriving before they set off.
Last week, scientists at CERN in Switzerland, which also operates the Large Hadron Collider, said they had measured particles travelling faster than the speed of light, which is impossible under Eintein's theory of relativity.
In an attempt to measure the speed of the neutrinos again, the Fermilab team will be using similar equipment -- called MINOS -- used in 2007 to conduct the same experiment.
"We're updating the [MINOS] to measure more precisely the time that it takes the neutrinos to travel from Fermilab to the detector in Minnesota," a spokesperson said.
The laboratory will also be taking new data next year in an attempt to be in a better position to confirm or refute the findings the OPERA project reported last week.
Dr Jonathan Carroll wrote on The Conversation Web site: "Time travel seems to be the go-to topic when faster-than-light particles are mentioned, but don't hold out hope for a TARDIS just yet. The much more likely scenario is that the analysis has overlooked some seemingly insignificant but critical aspect, and that re-analysis will lead to a very good agreement with the speed of light."
"Should that be the case, the follow-up press release will no doubt refer to the 'Phantom of the OPERA,'" Carroll quipped.