22 May 2020 16:33

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Have you heard that a NASA particle detector experiment discovered a parallel universe where time runs backwards?

Have you heard that a NASA particle detector experiment discovered a parallel universe where time runs backwards? Saying it "discovered" a parallel universe is simply not true. At best the data are consistent with this idea, but that's a long, long, looooooooong way from actually finding alternate realities. The experiment at the heart of all this is the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna, or ANITA. It's a University of Hawaii experiment funded in part by NASA and also by the DOE (so the claim that "NASA" found anything is a little misleading, though it makes for a fun clickbaity headline).

What ANITA looks for is neutrinos. A neutrino is a weird subatomic particle. It has almost no mass and doesn't interact with normal matter very easily, making it hard to detect. In general, a neutrino can pass through huge amounts of matter like it's not even there. A lot of extremely high-energy events (like supernovae and black holes gobbling down matter) can emit lots of neutrinos, so many that even though a teeny fraction interacts with matter it happens often enough to detect.

The headline from the tabloid Daily Star about the ANITA neutrino results is not exactly accurate. When extremely energetic neutrinos slam into the ice in Antarctica they emit little bursts of radio waves, and the characteristics of the bursts tell you a lot about the characteristics of the neutrino events. ANITA is made up of antennas that detect radio waves. It finds lots of such events, but only a few are actually cosmological, coming from astrophysical sources in space. One such event is what's called a cosmic ray shower: Super-high-energy subatomic particles like electrons and protons slam into our air and create a cascade of subatomic particles moving downward, a bit like how a bullet hitting a rock will create a shower of shrapnel.

This also makes a burst of radio energy that ANITA can also detect. Over the course of four flights, ANITA detected two anomalous radio bursts that, from their characteristics, appeared to be like cosmic ray showers moving upward. The only way you'd expect to see something like that is if a particle moved through the Earth, north to south, and created the particle shower after it emerged in Antarctica. But wait, you think: Neutrinos can pass through the Earth, right, so maybe that explains it? Yes, neutrinos can indeed pass through the Earth, but critically it depends on their energy.

Relatively low energy ones can, but the higher their energy, the less matter they can pass through without interacting. At high enough energies to explain the ANITA results they can't pass through matter much at all before hitting something. So if a neutrino at that energy can't pass through the Earth, what created the upward moving particle shower? The ANITA experiment consists of a series of antennas designed to hunt for bursts of radio waves emitted when neutrinos interact with Antarctic ice. For example, maybe some cosmic source emitted so many high-energy neutrinos that just by chance a couple of them could pass through the Earth, unlikely as that might be. Weirder things have been considered, too, like "new physics," strange variations on what we think we understand; one such case is odd forms of dark matter that could generate similar signals. These are generally considered unlikely, but if everything else is eliminated as a candidate, then looking into new physics is the next step. It's how dark matter and dark energy were discovered, for example. Weird results could be due to some effect you didn't know about. That could be inside your device (remember the faster-than-light neutrino foofooraw a few years back?) or some way the environment affects things. To be fair it's possible that something really, really weird actually is going on, something so outside our normal framework of physics that is seems, well, silly. And it doesn't get more bizarre than postulating a different universe where time runs backwards! In such a universe a lot of the physics we understand in our own Universe would be backwards, too. I'm not even sure this idea was seriously proposed; original sources have been hard to find since the tabloids promoting this story seem to just quote each other. To explain the ANITA data not only would this opposite universe have to exist, it would also have to somehow leak into our own Universe in such a way as to have its antichronometric particles interact with our own forward-time-traveling particles in an unknown manner such that particles showers move up from the ice instead of down from space. There are still ways these results could come from something relatively mundane without invoking Star Trek-like mirror Universes. What would help would be more detections of these weird showers, especially from different detectors. The problem there is knowing when you've completely eliminated the impossible. Image Source: AP (FILE) Parallel Universe discovered? Every news stream is abuzz these days about evidence of a parallel universe having been found. Parallel universes have been thought of for a while. Popular media is filled with stories woven around the concept of a parallel universe. So all the fanfare around the discovery of parallel universe was understandable. What added to the excitement was this 'parallel universe' was said to have time flowing backwards! The evidence for this parallel universe isn't strong enough. Most of the reports declaring the discovery of parallel universe apparently depended on a paywalled news report published in New Scientist on April 8, 2020. "...Explaining this signal requires the existence of a topsy-turvy universe created in the same big bang as our own and existing in parallel with it. In this mirror world, positive is negative, left is right and time runs backwards. It is perhaps the most mind-melting idea ever to have emerged from the Antarctic ice ­­– but it might just be true..." reads the report. This part of the full report does indeed hints the existence of a parallel universe. The report talks about Neutrinos. Neutrinos are microparticles that pass through everything without much effect. More than a trillion Neutrinos pass through our bodies per second! Scientists working with Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) in Antarctica recorded 'strange' signals over the years. Antennas of ANITA are at 37,000 metres above ground and measure Neutrinos coming from outer space and colliding with Antarctic ice. Scientists have discovered 'anomalous' readings in which Neutronos coming from the interior of the Earth. Though the initial part of the report hints at a parallel universe. The full version (behind the paywall) mentions that "there are loose ends" in this theory of the parallel universe. Several news reports confirm this including the one in CNet. So though we do have a hint at the parallel universe. It wouldn't be too bad in living in a parallel universe eh? After all, time runs backwards there. You may have heard stories circulating about the discovery of a parallel universe where time flows backwards after the occurrence of the Big Bang. While this has been proven to be nothing but hogwash, it is still interesting to know that one day, scientists may be able to prove that timelines such as this one exist. The original article was posted by New Scientist, and detailed anomalous results from a neutrino detection experiment conducted in Antartica. As reported by Science Alert, these neutrinos were also detected by the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) experiment. This is a high-altitude helium balloon with an array of radio antennas that is used during the experiment. The neutrinos are highly difficult to detect as they do not interact with matter as we know it. They can, however, interact with normal matter when they are produced by very explosive objects in the Universe. The ANITA was made to detect secondary showers of particles, which are created as neutrinos crash into matter as they move through the cosmos. What scientists found in Antarctica was not secondary showers but neutrinos themselves, which took them by surprise. "We have encountered a small number of anomalies in our data, and once we have exhausted all of the possible explanations within the Standard Model of physics, only then is it time to consider other ideas that push those boundaries – we are really not there yet, certainly not at the point where parallel universes are necessary!" said Peter Gorham, principal investigator of ANITA to Science Alert. The story was sensationalised while scientists work to figure out how exactly this happened. We do, however, think it would be interesting if it could be proven that such a parallel universe exists. Recently the internet releasing a lot of claims regarding the existence of parallel universe discovered by NASA that acts differently from our own. The existence of the parallel universe and its action might not necessarily be true or believable. It has taken our mind to think about the concept of it and what does it look like in terms of pop culture. If we have missed out thinking out it, NASA is already there to reveal that it had found some particles that are behaving differently from what we actually expected from them. This might be science that might not yet understand, or it may be due to the fact of the existence of Antarctica ice, where there are particle found. The weirdest part of these particles means that somewhere, times moves backwards, thereby promoting the idea of a parallel universe where both physics and time behave in an opposite way than our own universe. Again, as the media says, NASA has not come up discovering the parallel universe, but it has given the chance of imagination what the parallel universe would look like if it really exists. Scientific media and fiction started promoting with different manifestations regarding the existence of the parallel universe. If our space agency has come up with the discovery of the parallel universe where there is really the time that moves in the opposite direction, then the credit will go to the writers of these books, as time plays a crucial part in the life of an individual.


Nigel Mason May 22 2020 16:41
My understanding is that this is not a real possibility in our universe. In the universe there are many parallel universes. What is the main difference between the two universes? If there are many parallel universes, we would not be able to observe the events in one of them. However, if there are only two universes, we would see the events in the other