Have you ever considered the idea that alternate realities might exist outside of our universe? Do you ever suppose that on some level, everything that could happen does happen? Do you believe there are quantum or parallel universes beyond what we can detect with our current technology?

Scientists are putting these ideas to the test. They have found a hint of evidence suggesting at least some of these theoretical questions could be true.

What is a multiverse?

Since the 1950’s, the idea of multiverses (or parallel universes) have been a hot debate among physicists. It’s a branch of theoretical physics postulating that an infinite number of universes parallel to our own could exist. The hypothesis also states that those other universes have diverging realities. Everything that could possibly exist — such as space, time, and energy, is contained within the multiverses. Many of these universes could have different physical laws than anything we’ve ever imagined.

The concept that other realities exist outside of our own universe is difficult to study. The main reason for this is because the hypothesis can’t be falsified. Due to our limited capacity of measurement, the multiverse is often thought of as more of a philosophy than a scientific hypothesis.

Yet, new research could challenge these notions.

The Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna

A little over a decade ago, NASA developed the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA). This has been used to study high energy particles. The antenna is situated in a giant balloon high above the earth in Antarctica. From there, ANITA detects radio pulses emitted by small, high energy particles called neutrinos. The cold, dry air in Antarctica is the perfect environment for the antenna, since there is little to no external radio noise contaminating the study.

Could there be a parallel universe where physics operate in reverse?

Scientists say it’s possible, maybe even likely.

In 2016, ANITA researchers began to find high energy particles called “tau neutrinos” that behave in a seemingly impossible way. Instead of coming down through outer space, the tau neutrinos appear to be shooting up from the earth, which indicates they may be moving backward through time.

It’s rewind time

One of ANITA’s highly respected particle physicists, Peter Gorham, offers another possible explanation. The particles could transform themselves somehow, when passing through the Earth and back. However, there is a problem with that explanation. A transformation like that would be incredibly rare (a billion-to-one shot). We might only witness something like that once in a lifetime, if ever at all. Yet this bizarre phenomenon has been verified several times. Other solutions based on well known physics were also tested — all of which were ruled out.

Since the ANITA researchers have detected the strange particle behavior several times, data suggests that something else could be going on. The Big Bang that created our universe may have spawned another universe at the exact same time – but one that runs entirely in reverse!

What would a reverse parallel universe be like?

What would such a parallel universe look like? Could it accept travelers from our own dimension? Would we be able to experience it at all? We can only answer these questions in our imagination for now, but scientists will continue to study the phenomenon.

Ibrahim Safa, who works on the ANITA project says, “We’re left with the most exciting or most boring possibilities.”

Perhaps our parallel partners would believe that we are actually in the universe that is operating backwards, and not the other way around.