One of the world’s greatest scientific apparatuses, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), was brought down by an all too investigative weasel. Specifically, a beech marten, a member of the weasel family, who had the audacity to chew through some wiring attached to a 66,000-volt transformer.
CNN reported that the LHC lost power on Friday, and engineers investigating the source of the outage found the poor critter, who was fried to a crisp. The power outage apparently spread around CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear research, which runs the LHC.
The LHC, which was used to discover the Higgs boson in July 2012, is situated just outside Geneva. Its location in the countryside has led to issues before. The Guardian reported that an incident in 2009, in which the power was cut to one of the collider’s cooling plants, was blamed largely on a bird who dropped a piece of a baguette on compensating capacitor.
Repairs to the LHC are expected to take about a week, with engineers needing to replace the connections to the transformer. The event comes at an unfortunate time as engineers are ramping the collider up for its highest energy level yet. Researchers at CERN spent much of the past winter working on the collider, hoping that it’s increased power will help smash protons together at near light speed. Hopefully, the increased smashing power will help with research into elusive particles, called gravitons, which transmit the force of gravity and aid in the discovery of dark matter.