From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Parallel Universe, ANITA experiment
Mains level : Parallel Universe and the validity of such concepts
Twitter and other social media platforms are abuzz with the so-called ‘parallel universe’ that NASA has discovered. According to the claims, NASA has detected a parallel universe in Antarctica, where time runs backwards.
ANITA experiment is significant for prelims. It can be asked in prelims in such match the pair questions-
Q. Consider the following pairs :
Terms sometimes seen in news Context / Topic
1. Belle 2 experiment – Artificial Intelligence
2. Blockchain technology – Digital Cryptocurrency
3. CRISPR – Cas9 – Particle Physics
Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched? (CSP 2018)
(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
What is a Parallel Universe?
- In quantum mechanics, a parallel universe is theorized as existing alongside our own, although undetectable.
- The recent reports claiming that there is evidence of a parallel universe appear to be based on ANITA findings that are at least a couple of years old.
- A science magazine had published a feature, discussing some anomalous results coming from neutrino detection experiments in Antarctica.
- It discussed a speculative cosmological model that posits there’s an antimatter universe extending backwards from the BigBang.
- This theorem was also proposed by famous scientist Stephens Hawking.
What were the anomalous detections in Antarctica?
The ANITA experiment
- Four years ago an experiment had spotted a handful of instances of what seemed to be highly energetic neutrinos coming through the Earth.
- It was named Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) experiment — a high-altitude helium balloon with an array of radio antennas, partially funded by NASA.
- The telescope could spot these neutrinos coming from the space and hitting the ice sheet in Antarctica.
- ANITA detected these particles, but instead of coming from the space, the neutrinos were found to be coming from the Earth’s surface without any source.
- These detections happened in 2016, then again in 2018, but there was no credible explanation.
- Physicists have been working to figure out if these results can be explained with our current models of physics or have something to do with the experimental set-up itself, or if something like the parallel universe does exist.
- A neutrino is a subatomic particle very similar to an electron.
- But it has no electrical charge and a very small mass, which might even be zero.
- Neutrinos are one of the most abundant particles in the universe.
- Because they have very little interaction with matter, they are incredibly difficult to detect.