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Peter Trimming / CC BY 2.0

Tiny Weasel Accused Of Shutting Down Big, Expensive Science Machine

The charred body of a small mammal near a broken power line suggests the animal chewed through a wire, causing the machine to go offline.

By Samantha Crook | April 29, 2016

A weasel is suspected of chewing through a wire in one of science's most impressive machines.

The Large Hadron Collider is the largest particle accelerator in the world. It's designed to study the atom's nucleus by smashing atoms together really, really fast.

The charred body of a small mammal near a broken power line suggests the animal chewed through a wire, causing the machine to go offline.

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A spokesperson for the European Council for Nuclear Research told NPR it could be as late as mid-May before the machine is completely back in order.

Pretty impressive when you think about it — the little critter apparently disabled a machine made up of close to 17 miles of superconducting magnets.

This video includes an image from Peter Trimming / CC BY 2.0 and clips from CERN.

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