NEW ORLEANS, LA (AP) Testing started Tuesday on a key piece of evidence in the investigation of what led to the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The device, known as a blowout preventer, is a 300-ton steel contraption that is supposed to lock in place to prevent a spill in the case of an explosion.
It can snuff a blowout by squeezing rubber seals tightly around the pipes with up to 1 million pounds of force.
Investigators testing the device will try to determine why it didn't stop the flow of oil to the sea.
The device was raised from the sea floor Sept. 4 and taken to a NASA facility in New Orleans.
Testing had been delayed in part because the government and interested parties had to create procedures for the tests.
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