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Last Updated: Sunday September 21 2008 12:07 GMT

Trouble for Big Bang experiment

The Lagre Hadron

A huge experiment that could solve the mystery of how the Universe came into being isn't going very well.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) machine, which is being used to try to recreate what happened at the beginning of the universe has broken down!

It was only switched on 10 days ago, but it's been damaged by some magnets that weren't working properly.

Scientists thought they'd be able to fix it over the weekend, but now they say it will take at least two months.

Scientists think the Universe was formed in a huge fireball that produced all the materials that eventually came together to form the stars and the planets.

The experts in Geneva are testing the Big Bang idea by using the LHC to smash two beams of particles head-on at super-fast speeds, and seeing what happens.

Collision

The collider has been built inside a 17-mile underground tunnel on the border of France and Switzerland and the first beams of particles have already been successfully fired around it.

The next step of the experiment is to collide the beams head on, but the recent damage means that now can't happen for weeks.