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For a few days, you may have been seeing wild headlines like “NASA detects a parallel universe where time runs backwards!”. In short, this is not true. It is just a hypothesis put forward by a scientist to explain what NASA scientists observed. (Reality is often disappointing!)
This all basically started from an article published in April in “New Scientist” where the author interviewed a scientist named Peter Gorham working at NASA’s Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna, called ANITA for short.
What is Anita?
ANITA is a stratospheric balloon-based project in Antartica that has a radio antenna pointec towards earth to detect radio waves emitted by very high-energy neutrinos if they strike an atom in the ice. ANITA is basically a NASA observatory.
What Did ANITA Detect?
It detected a beam of very high energy neutrinos coming up from Earth’s surface with no source back in 2016. It happened a second time in 2018. There wasn’t an explanation for this.
Recently, a research paper on this obersvation was published which hypothesized, “Other explanations for the anomalous signals—possibly involving exotic physics—need to be considered.”
The parallel universe idea comes from this “exotic physics”. This is just a suggestion put forward to just prevent the current ideas of particle physics from ‘breaking down. (Personally, I don’t think these neutrinos are coming from another universe.)
There can be other possibilities like systematics error (for example, not accounting for something in the detector) or maybe the physics and standard model we’ve today need to be more complete. Errors are always a possibility when the unexpected happens in research. That’s why studies often need to be replicated before they’re accepted as fact.
Ibrahim Safa of UW–Madison, another lead on this paper, says that while it has been an exciting time for physicists trying to explain these events,”It looks like we’ll have to wait for the next generation of experiments, which will increase exposure and sensitivity, to get a clear understanding of this anomaly.”
These observations defy our current understanding of physics. That’s true. But it’s possible that these findings are the results of an error rather than evidence that could reshape how we understand physics in today’s date.
The suggestion that the neutrinos are coming from another universe is not the prevailing theory surrounding this experiment right now and there’s not a single additional evidence to support this idea.
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