I t’s one of the physics world’s most powerful machines but it has taken just a small weasel to put the Large Hadron Collider out of action. Researchers discovered the weasel had gnawed through a high-voltage cable which powers the world’s strongest scientific instrument on Thursday. It comes as scientists at the countryside base near Geneva, in Switzerland, were gearing up to collect new data from the 17-mile superconducting device, which is designed to smash protons together at close to the speed of light. When the machine shutdown, investigators discovered the charred remains of the weasel next to a 66kV chewed cable which powers the equipment. Officials of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym Cern, which run it, say it could take days to repair and longer until it is full operational. The huge collider, which has undergone more than two years of upgrades , to give it double the power, could even be out of action until mid-May, according to officials. Cern spokesman Arnaud Marsollier says it has suspended operations because a weasel invaded a transformer that helps power the machine and set off an electrical outage on Thursday night. The animal only made it as far as the electrical facilities and not the tunnels.
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