The Large Hadron Collider Was Temporarily Shut Down By A Runaway Weasel

Contributing Writer
04.30.16
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CERN / Getty

The Large Hadron Collider is the biggest and coolest scientific instrument in the world, and it has been rewriting the book on particle physics since coming fully online in 2010. The project wasn’t without its setbacks – a short circuit caused an explosion in 2008 which resulted extensive damage to the Collider, taking over a year to repair.

Since then the $7 billion dollar LHC has been smashing atoms fairly reliably, with only the kind of standard mishaps and delays you’d expect to see when dealing with a slightly complicated 17 mile long device. The latest such issue? Weasels.

Engineers investigating an electronics malfunction discovered the charred remains of a weasel that had apparently tried to chew through a power cable connected to a 66,000-volt transformer. The damage will only take a few days to repair, but getting the machine back up to full operation could take weeks.

This isn’t the first time animals have caused issues with the Large Hadron Collider. In 2009, a baguette dropped by a bird landed on a compensating capacitor, causing temperatures on the collider to rise to unsafe levels.

Here’s hoping for a summer free of further animal related issues at the Large Hadron Collider. The instrument will be powering up to its highest levels ever as scientists search for evidence confirming the existence of dark matter and particles called gravitons that may unlock the secrets of gravity.

(via NPR)

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