Large Hadron Collider crew has to pull 9,000 old cables

And you thought your desk was messy.

Even particle physics researchers have messes to clean up now and then. CERN has revealed to Motherboard that it's pulling 9,000 obsolete cables in three of the Large Hadron Collider's injectors in order to make way for newer cabling. That's a lot of work by itself (many of the cables are dozens of feet long), but it's made all the more daunting by the consequences of yanking the wrong line. Since the cables are largely for control and safety systems, one wrong move could prevent the entire particle accelerator from working -- try explaining that slip-up to your supervisors.

The crew has already disconnected 2,700 of the cables, and expects to remove all of them in 2017. CERN shouldn't have any problems with the LHC shutdown scheduled for 2019, in other words. And hopefully, this won't be necessary again. The gigantic amount of clutter stems from a "not-so-good habit" of leaving old cables around, which suggests that engineers will be much smarter about cleaning up in the future.

[Image credit: CERN]