CERN confirmed in a press release today that a small Beech Marten, an animal that weighs no more than five pounds at the most, was the cause of a power outage that led to the shutdown of the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Beech Martin found its way into a large, open-air electrical transformer situated above ground near the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator and chewed through a couple of key wires, causing a short circuit and cutting the power to part of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
The 17-mile, $7 billion superconducting machine, which was designed specifically to smash protons together at close to the speed of light, went offline overnight.
CERN spokesperson Arnaud Marsollier described the event as a “severe electrical perturbation”.
The Beech Martin is a least concern species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, given its wide distribution, large population, and presence in a number of protected areas.