TECH

A Weasel Broke The Billion-Dollar Large Hadron Collider [WATCH]

(Photo : Getty Images / Pascal Boegli) The Large Hadron Collider was taken down by a weasel.

A weasel brought down the Large Hadron Collider on April 29, The Washington Post reported. The world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator will be on standby mode for the next few days.

The Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, is a 17-mile long track developed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research commonly known as CERN.

The LHC's ring of superconducting magnets and "other accelerating structures" boost particle beams up to 99 percent the speed of light in opposite directions until they collide, according to CERN. Collisions between beams help scientists test theories about how the universe works.

Many feared this project had the potential to end the world, and one German chemist sued CERN, according to Time. Now a weasel did the work of stopping the experiments for him.

Arnaud Marsollier, the lead spokesperson for CERN, said he could indeed "confirm it was a weasel" that chewed its way into a transformer and downed the collider, The Washington Post reported.

Marsollier described the LHC as "slightly damaged due to an electrical arc" caused by the weasel. He claimed that the animal was likely electrocuted in the incident, according to Popular Mechanics.

This is not the first time CERN's machine was damaged by an animal. A bird dropped what was thought to be a piece of bread into an exposed part of outdoor machinery leading to serious overheating in 2009, Popular Science reported.

These "bugs" in the system remind us that the term was coined when a moth got into and corrupted a computer, according to Popular Mechanics. In 2016, it is hard to believe small animals can still break such powerful and expensive technology.

The LHC took roughly 10 years and $5 billion to build with operating costs of nearly $5.5 billion a year, according to Forbes. Even with the most advanced tools, scientists exploring the deepest mysteries of the universe continue to face everyday obstacles, like keeping small animals out of the machinery.

Watch the effort that goes into getting the LHC up and running below.

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