A multiverse, if it exists, could be hospitable to life, according to new research.
A team of scientists from the UK and Australia made this finding while studying ‘dark energy’ — the mysterious force accelerating the expansion of the universe.
Current theories posit that our universe has just the right amount of dark energy to support life. Any more would cause a rapid expansion leading to the breakdown of matter before life could be formed.
However, the new study suggests that variations in the amount of dark energy only has a modest impact on star and planet formation, meaning that the conditions for support life are not as narrow as previously thought.
Cosmologists from the Durham University in the UK and Australia’s University of Sydney, Western Sydney University, and the University of Western Australia used huge computer simulations of our observed universe to examine how different levels of dark energy might affect the development of life.
In two papers published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers found that even with dark energy levels dialled to extremely high or small amounts, life still formed.
“For many physicists, the unexplained but seemingly special amount of dark energy in our universe is a frustrating puzzle.
“Our simulations show that even if there was much more dark energy, or even very little in the universe, then it would only have a minimal effect on star and planet formation, raising the prospect that life could exist throughout the multiverse,” said co-author Jaime Salcido, a researcher at Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology, in a press release.