CERN's Large Hadron Collider is a wonder of modern engineering. The biggest and beefiest particle accelerator to ever be built, it's helped us dig into some of the most fundamental mysteries of the universe, and continues to do so. At least, it will if the engineers in charge of it .
According to Motherboard, one of the main obstacles that stands between the Large Hadron Collider and its next major upgrade are . Over the course of previous changes and upgrade, engineers have just been leaving old, useless cables in place instead of removing them and cleaning them up. It worked well for a while, but now there is just no more room.
As Sébastien Evrard, the CERN engineer leading the clean-up effort :
"Of course, in an ideal world we would remove the old and obsolete cables before installing new ones, but this was not the case. Today, all the cable containments—the cable trays that are housing all these cables—are really crowded, and it's no longer possible to add new cables."
Evrard and a team of 60 are trying to clean out the mess by removing useless cables during the few winter months every year when the collider is shut down. It's arduous work, but risky too. Jostling the wrong cable could prevent the collider from functioning or—perhaps more nefariously—prevent or corrupt data collection, an issue that might not be discovered until it's too late.
The team hopes to finish the job before the LHC's next longterm shutdown and upgrade in 2019. Hopefully during that renovation, they'll deal with their new cable problems as they crop up.