Which planet? Earth that is. In Europe there is an ongoing court bid to halt turning on CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. The collider is the worlds largest particle accelerator running underground at the Franco-Swiss border in Geneva with a circumference of 17 miles. The concern is that when used, the collider will generate black holes which could grow exponentially to swallow the earth.
Of course, this isn’t the first time the planet has faced such danger. When I was 10, I tried to build my own particle accelerator which failed more miserably than the laser I tried to build from a cardboard tube, aluminum/tin foil, a 2 liter coke bottle, some vinegar and baking soda. it was going to be a carbon dioxide laser since they were used in manufacturing to cut through sheet metal, and at 10 years old, the first thing you want to do with the laser you just built is cut stuff up (also, at the time I couldn’t afford gems to excite the particles). I spent a lot of time as a kid reading my older brothers physics books which was great for my education but not so much for my bedroom.
Regarding the LHC, a safety report from 2003 verified that there were risks of micro-black holes, among other phenomena, and that there was no basis for any danger. This report was reaffirmed in 2008 by the LHC’s Safety Assessment Group.
CERN will be flicking the switch on September 10th 2008, I wish them more luck than I had with my particle accelerator, or as I affectionately called her “Ol’ Lightning”.
Updated 9/13/2008 : We’re all still alive!