Future

People Are Fantasizing About A Parallel Universe That (Probably) Doesn’t Exist

No, NASA scientists did not find a parallel universe, but Twitter saw a meme opportunity and ran with it.

Multiple publications this week have claimed a study by NASA scientists shows the possible discovery of a parallel universe where time moves backward. (Spoiler alert: this is not true.)

So, what actually happened? Well, as one of the lead authors on the research paper published in January that prompted growing speculation put it: 

In 2016, researchers detected radio waves from high-energy neutrinos—which are mysterious cosmic particles that have almost no mass and are difficult to detect— using The Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) and IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica. 

The source of the particles is unknown, and the direction of the neutrinos indicated that they traveled through the Earth, which left scientists puzzled. While the research was inconclusive, a post in January on IceCube’s website said explanations for the neutrinos “possibly involving exotic physics” should be considered. The study’s peculiar findings were enough for a New Scientist article on April 8 to speculate that the source was actually a parallel universe. 

Word quickly traveled through tabloids that there was a Benjamin Button-like parallel universe right next to our own. As New Scientist put it: “In this mirror world, positive is negative, left is right and time runs backward.” 

The scientist tweeted once again:

While the parallel universe theory hasn’t actually been proven, that didn’t stop the internet from going down a wormhole of hilarious reactions to the idea that there might be another version of themselves out there. 

Here are some of the best: