The concept of a parallel universe – an existing universe that runs alongside our own – has fascinated us so much that it has sparked “what if” conversations for centuries. It has played a big part in science fiction, from Star Trek to H.G. Wells books. Could more than one universe exist? In recent years, many scientists have started to accept the multiverse theory, but the proof may be hard to come by.
A Parallel Universe is Found?
The internet was recently abuzz on reports that a NASA project may have uncovered evidence of a parallel universe. A group of scientists was working on the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) experiment, and the team detected something interesting.
According to New Scientist, researchers used a high-altitude helium balloon with radio antennas in the dry Antarctic air with little radio disturbance. It was reported that they detected particles that defied the laws of physics. ANITA found tau neutrino particles that come “up” out of Earth. This is what the media declared evidence of a parallel universe.
But the group has been discussing these weird events since 2016, and nobody can explain why they are happening. Perhaps Antarctica’s ice sheet is producing these ghostly particles. Or it could be a part of a new brand of physics.
Ron Ekers, an honorary fellow at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, said:
“The unusual ANITA events have been known and discussed since 2016. After four years, there has been no satisfactory explanation of the anomalous events seen by ANITA so this is very frustrating, especially to those involved.”
While the experts recommend adopting the Sagan Standard in this case (“extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”), should we dismiss the overall parallel universe theory entirely? Not quite.
Science has engaged in discussions over the three main types of a parallel universe: higher dimensions, multiverse, and the many-worlds interpretation.
The experts muse on how laws function or how living creatures could behave in these other worlds. In another universe, up is down and left is right. In a higher dimension, species might be able to disappear and reappear whenever they want. Or, there might be another world and another you, except your life is entirely different! It might be mindboggling to think of infinite universes or a dozen different dimensions, but physicists say it is all possible.
For now, it is impossible to detect multiple dimensions or even another universe. However, there may be some evidence that our universe may have bumped into another one. In 2013, the European Space Agency confirmed a “Cold Spot” that is 1.8 billion light-years across and 0.00015 degrees colder than everywhere else. It might not seem like a big deal, but it is an important discovery when you realize that the temperature of the entire universe is consistent. So, what happened? It might be a scar from an accident between two universes, which could have transferred some energy.
The Theory of Everything
Wouldn’t it be a lot simpler for scientists to have one theory that ties up space and time with a neat little bow? Well, there might be one: The Theory of Everything, also known as String Theory.
String Theory is quickly becoming the go-to idea to explain fundamental particles, the dimensions to space, and the four forces that were born after the Big Bang (gravity, electromagnetism, weak nuclear force, and a strong nuclear force). Most importantly, String Theory could perhaps produce 10,500 versions of space-time that each has its own laws of physics.
In the end, even if the headlines got the crux of the story wrong, it does not mean the concept should be completely dismissed. Scientists may one day discover a universe where everything is in reverse.