Large Hadron Collider
Large Hadron Collider

Physics, Questions

Will the Large Hadron Collider Destroy the Earth?

22 Apr , 2008 by

Question: Will the Large Hadron Collider Destroy the Earth?

Answer: No.

As you might have heard in the news recently, several people are suing to try and get the Large Hadron Collider project canceled. When it finally comes online, the LHC will be the largest, most powerful particle accelerator ever constructed.

If there’s something wrong with it, the LHC might have the power to damage itself, but it can’t do anything to the Earth, or the Universe in general.

There are two worries that people have: black holes and strange matter.

One of the goals of the Large Hadron Collider is to simulate microscopic black holes that might have been generated in the first few moments of the Big Bang. Some people are worried that these artificial black holes might get loose, and then consume the Earth from within, eventually moving on to destroy the Solar System.

The physicists are confident that any black holes they create will evaporate almost instantaneously into a shower of particles. In fact, the theories that predict that black holes can be created also predicts that black holes will evaporate. The two concepts go hand in hand.

The other worry is that the Large Hadron Collider will create a theorized material called strangelets. This “strange matter” would then be able to infect other matter, turning the entire planet into a blog of strange matter.

This strange matter is completely theoretical, and once again, the same theories that say it might be produced in the Large Hadron Collider also rule out any risks from it.

One of the most important considerations is the fact that the Moon is struck by high energy cosmic rays that dwarf the power of the Large Hadron Collider. They were likely blasted out of the environment around a supermassive black hole.

These have been raining down on the Moon for billions of years, and so far, it hasn’t turned into a black hole or strange matter.

You can read more about the Large Hadron Collider lawsuit here. Or how it might create wormholes, a view into other dimensions, or unparticles.

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By  -          
Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.



25 Responses

  1. Mark says:

    This “strange matter” would then be able to infect other matter, turning the entire planet into a blog of strange matter.

    Actually, we already have a planet full of blogs that contain strange matter.

  2. Magister mundi sum! says:

    Scientia non habet inimicum nisp ignorantem

  3. Vanamonde says:

    Some people were worried about the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) doing the same kind of thing. They put out a excellent paper on this at http://www.bnl.gov/rhic/docs/rhicreport.pdf
    with a web site summery at http://www.bnl.gov/rhic/disaster.htm

    But then later, it seems the RHIC *did* make some black holes – quantum sized that evaporated in a septillionth of a second and got no more than a fraction of a femtometer. Really hard to say, the press releases are unclear and Horatiu Nastase’s paper on the subject are beyond me. But I suspect the LHC will create black homes that may last TWO septillionths of a second and maybe even make it an entire femtometer before exploding in a shower of pions.

    I don’t understand stranglets at all to comment.

  4. Adam says:

    Hi Fraser

    One of the silliest aspects of the “Black Hole Doom” is that the very theory which suggests the holes might be created also predicts Hawking radiation – can’t have one without the other.

  5. Craig Whitman says:

    It is amazing that the idiot fringe (Perpetual
    Doomsdayers) actually get a forum for thier constant misguided and misleading positions.
    We as a race have been held back for Centuries by this sort of nonsense (Taking the nearly impossible and escalating it to the end of the world).
    I for one look forward the the experiment and the results that could be of great benifit to the world.

  6. Baron Von Frankenstein says:

    These fools never understand our methods !
    Our results are important and not our methods.
    Igor is very happy about this new machine and that’s all that matters anyway.
    There’s always the possibility that it may create a wormhole or a really really strange strangelet.

  7. Jason Leary says:

    The people trying to stop the particle collider are pathetic . I’m an enviromental extremist —but that does NOT merit the title enviromental extremism .

    Instead it is anti-scientific idiocy !

    I pine with anticipation to see what secrets of matter the facility will reveal !

    (And if it turns the planet into strange matter –how do we know whether or not that will be an improvement ? What properties does strange matter have . If say, television reporters bodies were to be transformed into strange matter , would they become disinclined to spread vapid , sordid, yuppie- era gossip ? If so that would certainly be improvement if they had their bodies transformed into strange matter provided it didn’t make them physically uncomfortable or kill them .

  8. Kootstar says:

    Yes, Mark, I agree. we already have plenty of “blogs” that are quite strange. I would far prefer a blob or glob of something new and strange for the science community to study. Science is usually quite careful in such studies, but not so the internet. 😉

  9. James says:

    Interesting new inventions are to be made off of these new discoveries. A fantastic event it will be.

  10. the dude says:

    So… Why is this piece of shit created, anyways? What good will come out of it? Will our lives improve because of this machine? Will we live longer? What the f**k is the purpose of this piece of junk?

  11. Starspeed says:

    The Awakening within many of us is rapidly increasing. We must remember where we are from. Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus. As far as the LHC is concerned, my hope is for success. This is not the year of The Big One. The Earth will divide within 4 years.

  12. bratly says:

    All the blackholes you see in the universe once had a planet at the center with their own large hadron colliders. See what happens! 500 bigheaded, no common sense geeks with nothing better to do then thwap their braincells into a frenzy doom us into nonexistance until the blackhole fills up and spits the matter back out for the next big bang. bwahahaha I posted the same thing almost on YouTube for the Theory of Everything. All kidding aside if you live everyday afraid are you truly living? I believe a sustainable black hole would not form unless you had a cosmic event with enough force to start the black hole, expand the hole deeper then just the surface and then have matter available to be pulled through the hole.

    There has to be another universe or another dimension on the other side of black holes would not swirl if it was just a hole to be filled.

    And did you ever think that a black hole from another dimension started the big bang and that is why we have all the matter in this universe? Naw, no way it was a Large Hadron Collider in the next universe over!

  13. JTankers says:

    I’m glad this is being debated, but the arguments are flawed.

    Cosmic rays that hit the Earth or Moon send results through the planet at nearly the speed of light. Head-on colliders may leave some “results” trapped by Earth’s gravity.

    The much lower power RHIC is not believed to have created a “real” micro black hole, and Hawking Radiation is unverified and disputed by several published peer reviewed papers.

    What is foolish is to rush the project forward without a single verified safety argument. Several layers of ‘highly probable’ safety arguments were not enough to protect the space Shuttle Challenger from a below freezing launch, the current LHC safety arguments may not be sufficient either.

    Dr. Otto Rossler is very concerned, read his June 25th article here: http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.20min.ch%2Fnews%2Fwissen%2Fstory%2F24668213&hl=en&ie=UTF8&sl=de&tl=en

    Learn more at LHCFacts.org and LHCDefense.org

  14. Rocky says:

    This may be true, however, those raining down on the moon were not created by man.

  15. Rocky says:

    These have been raining down on the Moon for billions of years, and so far, it hasn’t turned into a black hole or strange matter.

    (What I am reffering to)

  16. John says:

    “This strange matter is completely theoretical, and once again, the same theories that say it might be produced in the Large Hadron Collider also rule out any risks from it. ”

    Yeah… what if the theory is half WRONG

  17. john stewart says:

    hi, i may only be 16 years of age but even i see the amazing new discoverys about the universe and the secrets that mankind has pondered over for centries, and if the hadron collider project will aid man in discovering the vast amount of secrets such as the higgs boson, i belive that any project or experiment however contraversal or pricey it may be will be truley worth any risk

  18. Will says:

    The LHC seems pretty cool but if something goes wrong have you a way to control or reverse it before it gets out of hand?

  19. The Doctor says:

    Strange Matter? yes! I remember that one, the Rani was going to crash it into the planet at Lykertya at some point, would have caused mass devastation, unfortunatley the Loyhargil probe blew it up!

    he he he!

  20. ABHIJIT GABA says:

    THE MATTER IN THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER WILL MOVE AT 99.99% OF SPEED OF LIGHT SO THEIR WEIGHT IS GOING TO BE TOO MUCH AS PER SPEACIAL RELATIVITY .MATTER COLLIDING AT SUCH HIGH SPEED CAN BE
    A BIT DANGEROUS FOR EARTH ATLEAST.
    BUT STILL I AM SUPPRTING THE GREAT PROJECT.

  21. head on says:

    hy abhijeet how can this be dangerous for earth.

  22. Carl says:

    These scientists remind me of a kid with a hammer and a blasting cap. Unless one can definitively state with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that no planet destroying event can possibly take place, call me crazy, but I dont think its a good idea to turn it on. and I note that the article states the same THEORY that predicts the machine will create black holes states that an accident is not possible. Ok, I submit this, what if the THEORY is not totally right? What if in certain as of yet unknown circumstances, a black hole could be created that stays in existance long enough to start gobbling up matter, sinks to the earths core, and actually destroys the earth? What will these scientists do then, say “sorry we were wrong, have a nice death”? The problem I have with it is, no matter how implausible either the stranglet scenario or the black hole scenarios are, if either one takes place, they are irreversible to the Earth and we are DEAD. Kind of a big price to pay so some rich entitled college grads can feed their egos, dont you think? To me, any action that might result in the destruction of our planet and humanity is a risk we should not take. Just imagine if in 1919, two scientists made some plutonium in some university somewhere and slammed two pieces of it together to “see what happens”, before anyone actually knew the end result of such an experiment? Sorry, even if its just a .000000000001 percent chance, its too much.

  23. hank says:

    I love the dooms day stuff I’ve been reading. I’m no physicists, I don’t have the scientific background to look through a microscope.. but I love to read and this is the COOLEST THING EVER. I’ve been watching the science channels for years about this stuff and this HAS to be done. It will open new doors to our future physicists and further funding in other experiments. The possibilities are endless. This is our monolith.
    We cant just theorize, we need to see what happens and then present the findings to future endeavors. Sometimes great ideas are just that, a great idea. Sometimes people act on those great ideas and change the world.
    This is a good thing for man kind, even if it does nothing.

  24. Mike says:

    There’s a vote started about this topic –
    http://www.willthelargehadroncolliderdestroytheearth.com

    Currenlty majority think it will not destroy the earth :)

  25. Johnson McGregor says:

    Well,
    all i can say, is why dont you scientists build a massive hydraulic slingshot to launch garbage into space.
    Vagina

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