Can time run backwards as well as forwards ? Image Credit: NASA/ESA/ESO
Scientists have put forward a new model in support of the idea that time can run in both directions.
The idea that there could exist an almost limitless number of parallel universes is nothing new, but what if some of those alternative universes were actually running in reverse ?
The concept of a backwards running universe has been around for some time, but now researchers from California and Massachusetts have come up with a new theory indicating that this bizarre phenomenon could arise based on much simpler principles that had been previously suggested.
Key to this idea is the assertion that the direction in which time flows doesn't actually matter because it would still ultimately behave in accordance with the known laws of physics. We take our concept of time - one that flows forwards - for granted, but that doesn't mean it can't go backwards too.
What this means is that there could exist a parallel universe where all the events that happened in the past from our perspective will actually be set to occur in the future.
How this would work from a practical point of view however remains unclear - would dead people spring back to life, become progressively younger, turn in to babies and then be "unborn" ?
While we are unlikely to ever experience such a universe ourselves, the possibilities of what it might be like certainly represent an interesting and mind-boggling thought exercise.
Fans of the BBC sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf will probably recognize the below clip set during an episode which explored what it would be like to visit such a universe - with hilarious consequences.