It is one of life’s greatest questions: What is beyond our universe? Is there life outside our universe? Are there possibly multiple universes?
There are countless stars, planets, galaxies and clusters in our universe. It is entirely plausible that there are many – possibly infinite – universes. These universes are part of a larger whole. This is what researchers call the multiverse.
At the moment there are several theories. Some scientists believe that there is one infinitely large universe, of which we see only a portion. The different universes share the same space. Another theory is that many universes are floating like bubbles in a void.
One bubble in a sea full of bubbles
According to the multiverse hypothesis, it all started with a vacuum containing energy (also called vacuum energy). Bubbles arose in this void, each of which also contained a void, which also contained energy. This energy caused the bubbles to expand. It is possible that some of these expanding bubbles bumped into each other, which could lead to the formation of more bubbles. Every bubble in this story is a universe. According to this hypothesis, our universe would be just one bubble in a “sea” full of bubbles.
Why does our universe contain so little dark energy?
As you know, our universe originated 13.7 billion years ago. Before the Big Bang, there was one point – the so-called singularity – with all the energy to build the universe. At some point, this singularity began to expand and scientists dubbed it the Big Bang. The driving force behind the expansion of the universe is dark energy: a mysterious vacuum energy that acts as a kind of anti-gravity. Dark energy must exist, otherwise it is impossible to explain why the universe is expanding faster and faster.
At the moment, it appears that our universe contains less dark energy than theories predict. How is this possible? Researchers have an idea about that, too. However, this is a metaphysics, because it cannot be proven. Scientists believe that after the Big Bang, several universes appeared, each with its own laws of nature. In this scenario, our universe is one of many universes and “accidentally” equipped with a set of natural laws that make life possible. In other words: We are here because we can. At the same time, this means that around our universe there may be many uninhabitable universes with more dark energy.
Multiple universe or creator
It turns out that our universe—and thus we humans too—was the result of perfect chance, but weak: something else had to happen or we wouldn’t have been there. How do you explain that as a researcher? Scientists call this issue “life fine-tuning.” At the moment, there are only two solutions in circulation. The first states that the universe, beautifully harmonized to us, is the work of a higher power whose purpose is to create life. The second explains the “perfect universe” by saying that there are multiple universes, each with its own laws of nature. In this scenario, the universe we live in isn’t set for us, but we’re here because we can.
Is there life outside the universe?
We don’t even know if life is possible on planets other than Earth – let alone intelligent life – but the odds are very high. For example, there are many trillions or even billions of planets in the universe. It is statistically impossible that there is no life outside Earth. According to scientists at the University of Nottingham There are currently at least 36 intelligent civilizations in our galaxy, but this also cannot be proven. If life is possible within our universe, then it is likely that life outside the universe also exists. Even in other universes that contain greater amounts of dark energy, life is possible. “If we increase the amount of dark energy hundreds of times, it does not seem enough to create a dead universe,” said study researcher Pascal Elahi.
Although the multiverse appears to solve many problems in physics, not all physicists are excited. “I don’t like it,” Daniel Bowman previously revealed in an interview with Scientias.nl. Claes Landsmann, a professor of mathematical physics at Radboud University Nijmegen, isn’t too enthusiastic either. According to him, the solution to the multiverse is circular thinking. Landsmann Books BookIn every possibility†
How far can we see at most?
The satellite image of the week shows how far we can see at the moment. Above you see a representation of the cosmic microwave background radiation. After the Big Bang, the universe was extremely hot. Then the universe cooled. The cosmic microwave background radiation is radiation from residual heat. 380,000 years after the Big Bang, the universe has become transparent and this radiation can move freely for the first time. Scientists believe that the cosmic microwave background radiation can be used to search for traces of previous universes (that is, universes that formed before ours). In fact, thirty points called Hawking have already been found. Fabulous science!
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