The Large Hadron Collider -- designed to replicate conditions in the universe immediately after the Big Bang and due to be switched on in 10 days -- is being challenged by a last-minute lawsuit at the European Court for Human Rights.
Opponents of the Collider are afraid its ability to smash atoms at such high speeds that it will generate temperatures of one trillion degrees centigrade will create a mini-black hole that could "tear the earth apart," reports the Telegraph.
Opponents of the project had hoped to obtain an injunction from the European Court of Human Rights that would block the collider from being turned on at all, but the court rejected the application on Friday morning. However, the court will rule on allegations that the experiment violates the right to life under the European Convention of Human Rights.
Here's the case against the collider by Professor Otto Rössler, a German chemist at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen:
CERN itself has admitted that mini black holes could be created when the particles collide, but they don't consider this a risk.
My own calculations have shown that it is quite plausible that these little black holes survive and will grow exponentially and eat the planet from the inside. I have been calling for CERN to hold a safety conference to prove my conclusions wrong but they have not been willing.
We submitted this application to the European Court of Human Rights as we do not believe the scientists at CERN are taking all the precautions they should be in order to protect human life."
CERN conducted a safety review and concluded there is "little chance" the collider could create black holes that could endanger the earth.
Meanwhile, environmentalists in Hawaii have filed suit in federal court in the U.S., seeking to delay the switch-flip. The case was to be heard Tuesday.
CERN's defense, from spokesman James Gillies:
The Large Hadron Collider will not be producing anything that does not already happen routinely in nature due to cosmic rays. If they were dangerous we would know about it already. We are now concentrating on firing the first beams around the collider and then on fine tuning it until we can get collisions, when the science will start.