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Will the Large Hadron Collider Destroy the Earth?

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.


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

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • head on September 9, 2008, 11:14 AM

    hy abhijeet how can this be dangerous for earth.

  • Carl September 10, 2008, 4:19 PM

    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.

  • hank September 10, 2008, 10:52 PM

    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.

  • Mike September 30, 2008, 5:46 AM

    There’s a vote started about this topic –

    Currenlty majority think it will not destroy the earth :)

  • Johnson McGregor February 4, 2009, 12:34 PM

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