First, NASA tells us UFOs do exist. Now they are saying there’s evidence of parallel universes (yes, plural)? If this seems like too much on top of everything else, it is, but it seems like a logical enough explanation when our brains are already broken from current events.
In 2016, researchers in Antarctica found the presence of high-energy particles that they could not explain. The scientists were looking for these particles arriving from space using a giant balloon with antennae called ANITA, which stands for Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna.
Three times they launched the balloon, only to receive weird background noise each time. Upon further examination, they realized this noise wasn’t random at all. Instead it was the signature of a high-energy particle coming up from the ice, rather than down from space.
Since then, scientists have been trying to figure out how this could happen, as it defies the laws of physics. There are three explanations: One, it could mean the presence of a new type of subatomic particle that passes through the earth, something that is beyond the standard model of physics, according to Peter Gorham, University of Hawaii Physics and Astronomy Professor.
Two, it could mean a whole other parallel universe running backwards to ours. Yes, backwards. The scientists' hypothesis is that the particles were traveling back through time. According to New Scientist, the "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.” This other universe would be "made of antimatter rather than matter."
The third explanation is that ANITA is on the fritz and it’s a malfunction. But the second explanation is definitely the coolest.
Does this mean there’s another you out there, aging in reverse, walking backwards, sleeping all day and working all night? Unfortunately, that isn’t how it works. As mentioned in one of three research papers on the subject, this may be evidence of a “CPT symmetric universe,” where time would run backwards from the Big Bang and where "antimatter would dominate.” This isn't our universe, but a universe. No little doppelgängers running around Bizzaro World. Not as cool and way more complicated for us non-astrophysicists to wrap our heads around.
Ibrahim Safa, lead author on the paper, clarified his comments on Twitter after learning that a few publications heard the “parallel universes” line and took it to mean a full Upside Down-like universe. Not only is it extremely unlikely, but it's also a gross generalization of astrophysics.
One of the other papers suggests that an optical dector in the South Pole called IceCube didn’t detect any of these energy particles (called neutrinos), chalking it up to the new physics explanation. It could also be a misinterpretation of how Antarctic ice works -- what a letdown.
More research is needed, but I think what we can infer here is that in such difficult times, we want a wacky explanation that is easier on our brains than “new physics.” But hey, we still have UFOs and murder hornets, not to mention a global pandemic! What a wild 2020 it has been thus far. When do the vampire monkeys invade?