Physics

Weasel shuts down world's largest atom smasher in Switzerland

FILE - A May 31, 2007 file photo shows a view of the Large Hadron Collider in its tunnel at the European Particle Physics Laboratory, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland.

FILE - A May 31, 2007 file photo shows a view of the Large Hadron Collider in its tunnel at the European Particle Physics Laboratory, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland.  (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP, File)

A weasel’s encounter with the world’s most powerful atom-smasher didn’t turn out that well for the complex machine or the animal.

The Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland, was shut down Friday after a weasel chewed through its wiring and caused a power outage, Sky News reports.

The furry creature met its demise after nibbling on a wire connected to a 66,000-volt transformer powering the collider, Sky News reported.

The atom smasher was used to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson - also known as the God particle, according to the European news outlet.

In an internal incident report the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which runs the 17-mile circuit under the Swiss-French border, said it was "not the best week for LHC!”

“I can confirm that the Large Hadron Collider is on standby mode, following technical issues in the last 24 hours, including a power cut due to the passage of a weasel,” CERN spokesperson Arnaud Marsollier told the National Geographic in an email Friday.

“The concerned part of the LHC stopped immediately and safely, though some connections were slightly damaged due to an electrical arc,” he said.

Marsollier told the Associated Press little remains of the weasel.

Authorities say the incident was one of several small glitches that will delay plans to restart the $4.4 billion collider by a few days.

It’s unclear why weasels, or martens, and other small mammals might munch on electrical wires but it’s not uncommon, Roland Kays, head of the Biodiversity Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, told the National Geographic.

“Martens chew on car wires all the time in Europe, it’s a pretty big problem actually,” Kays told the magazine in an email. He said there is “quite a bit of engineering now going into reducing the problem.”

The atom smasher was used to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson - also known as the God particle, according to Sky News.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.