A little weasel-like animal known as a beech marten cut the power to the world’s largest particle accelerator this week when it gnawed through an electrical transformer, according to CERN documents about the outage.
The marten reportedly wound up fried.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, runs Geneva’s Large Hadron Collider, which is responsible for some of the most important discoveries in modern physics.
“The concerned part of the LHC stopped immediately and safely, though some connections were slightly damaged due to an electrical arc,” CERN spokesperson Arnaud Marsollier wrote in an email to Mashable. “It may take a few days to repair but such events happened a few times in the past and are part of the life of such a large installation.”
The LHC had recently been running only low-grade tests, and the outage is not likely to disrupt the bulk of this year’s work.
In November, physicists at the LHC discovered two subatomic particles six times as large as protons.
The LHC is also known for proving the existence of the Higgs boson particle, which is foundational to much of particle physics theory.