BBC Earth (Asia) - - Update -

Ac­cord­ing to the the­ory of cos­mic in­fla­tion – an idea that is ac­cepted by most, but not all, lead­ing cos­mol­o­gists – the Uni­verse ex­panded in­cred­i­bly rapidly in all di­rec­tions in a tiny frac­tion of a sec­ond fol­low­ing the Big Bang, much like a bal­loon does as it is blown up. Af­ter this ini­tial quick burst, it con­tin­ued to ex­pand, but much more slowly.

In con­trast, the the­ory of eter­nal in­fla­tion states that fol­low­ing the Big Bang, in­fla­tion did cease in some pock­ets of space, but also con­tin­ued in others. This means that we could live in a so-called ‘bub­ble uni­verse’ – an area of slowly ex­pand­ing space em­bed­ded in a much larger, rapidly ex­pand­ing space that is still un­der­go­ing in­fla­tion.

What’s more, there might also be count­less other bub­ble universes em­bed­ded in this larger space that are be­ing pro­pelled away from us at break­neck speed. In some of these bub­bles, the laws of physics could be com­pletely dif­fer­ent from those that ap­ply in our own Uni­verse – mak­ing these other universes very strange worlds in­deed.

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