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GENEVA (CAP) - Scientists preparing the world's largest atom smasher to explore the depths of matter say chances it will open up a black hole that will suck in the entire earth, destroying all life, are "iffy at best."
"I mean, you'd need an awful lot of power and energy to basically open up a rift in the universe strong enough to suck in an entire planet," said Sergio Bertucci, a research director working in Switzerland on the Large Hadron Collider. "I don't think we'll be harnessing that much energy, probably."
Scientists have been working to repair the $10 billion collider since it malfunctioned just nine days after its initial launch more than a year ago. But Bertucci says talk at the time that the device could have snuffed out life on earth was highly exaggerated.
"France, Switzerland, maybe part of Austria, tops," he said of the so-called collider Danger Zone, nicknamed such for the Kenny Loggins song of the same name. "And there was a small chance that the Iberian Peninsula would fall into the ocean. Tiny, like 100 to 1."
While scientists are desperately hoping the collider will provide a window into the origins of the universe, some have slammed the project for its excessive cost and the possibility that it will destroy the earth.
"Ten billion dollars! That's 400,000 $25,000 a year jobs that the money could have been used for," noted one commenter at the Telegraph.com. "Plus wiping out the planet - bad form."
Scientists, however, defend the project, saying it could unravel the mysteries of the Big Bang that many theorize marked the creation of the universe billions of years ago. "You have to admit, that's pretty cool," said Bertucci.
"Plus, if we could harness this power, we could eventually use it to create life ourselves, and then make it do our bidding. Whoever could control such power would be like - A GOD!" he added. "I'm just saying."
But those claims haven't silenced naysayers; even former U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin weighs in on the topic in her memoir, Going Vogue.
"I don't believe in the theory that human beings - thinking, loving beings - originated from a bunch of tiny particles banging together," wrote Palin. "That's not what God had in mind when he put humans and animals and dinosaurs here together 6,000 years ago."
This led her daughter's former fiance, Levi Johnston, to respond on The View, "I don't know about particles, but she didn't think I was banging Bristol either, and we all know how that turned out."
Meanwhile, so-called Colliderers - a growing group of people who believe the Large Hadron Collider will wipe out life on the planet and are preparing for the end - have started to gather around the perimeter of the project on the France/Switzerland border, where they pray, sing songs and play hacky-sack with beanbags made to look like the planet Earth irradiated with inter-dimensional energy.
"I used glow-in-the-dark fabric paint," noted Colliderer Krystal Waters.
Many of the Colliderers recently saw the movie 2012, which they say has prepared them for the inevitable global destruction the collider will cause.
"We're definitely ready," said Waters. "Although there better be flooded mountains and cities falling into the ocean, or we're going to be wicked disappointed."