Fears that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will destroy the planet when it starts up later this year are unfounded, according to a new study.
Cern's LHC will smash particles together in an effort to discover the building blocks of all matter.
But the LHC has been hit by a lawsuit from Walter Wagner, a former nuclear safety officer, who fears that the experiments could create a black hole that would destroy the planet from within.
However, two scientists have filed a paper (PDF) in which they claim to show that such an event is not possible, since the LHC will only mimic certain actions in nature.
"This study finds no basis for concerns that TeV-scale black holes from the LHC could pose a risk to Earth on timescales shorter than the Earth's natural lifetime," said Steven B. Giddings and Michelangelo M. Mangano, authors of the study.
"Indeed, conservative arguments based on detailed calculations and the best-available scientific knowledge, including solid astronomical data, conclude that there is no risk of any significance from such black holes."
The LHC is the world's largest scientific instrument. It has a diameter of 27 kilometres, and runs under the French-Swiss border.
Scientists hope that the experiments will finally provide proof of the Higgs boson particle, which could explain why atoms have mass.
However, others fear more unpredictable results, such as the formation of a black hole or even time travel.
To counter these fears Cern commissioned an independent panel to examine the possibilities of things going wrong. The panel, including a Nobel Laureate, concluded that there was no danger.
"It was right for the director general of Cern to commission a formal assessment of safety issues, examining even the most unlikely of scenarios," said council president Torsten Åkesson.
"This new report concludes that there is no basis for any concern, a position endorsed by the 20 independent experts who form the Scientific Policy Committee. "
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