Space & Astronomy
Could dark energy one day cause another Big Bang to occur ?
By T.K. Randall
February 24, 2023 · 10 comments
Have we been here before ? Image Credit: ESA / NASA
Dark energy could be the key to understanding a cyclical universe that contracts and expands over and over again.
There is so much we don't understand about the universe and the nature of existence that even attempting to comprehend how anything actually exists at all is enough to make your head hurt.
As things stand, most scientists adhere to the theory that the universe started with the Big Bang, but what exactly is likely to happen in the far future ? Will everything end as quickly as it began or will it, as some scientists suggest, end with the eventual 'heat death' of the universe ?
In a new paper, two theoretical physicists have taken a new look at another theory - one suggesting that the universe may actually end in a 'Big Crunch' in which the cosmos will contract back into a single infinitesimally small point before beginning again with another Big Bang event.
This idea of a cyclical universe is not new, but what is new is how these physicists have approached the problem and their solution is all to do with something known as dark energy.
The pair believe that this mysterious form of energy - which is thought to be behind the continued and accelerating expansion of the universe - may periodically 'switch' on and off, resulting in either an expanding or shrinking universe.
If the universe did go through an infinite succession of 'bounces', then dark energy may drive the expansion up to a certain point, after which it would stop and start contracting.
Once it contracts down far enough, another Big Bang would trigger - and so the process repeats.
If true, this would mean that we may simply be living in one cycle of the universe and that the cosmos - and everything in it - will essentially be created and destroyed, over and over again, for all eternity.
Actually proving this theory, however, is another matter entirely.
Source: Live Science
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