Alternative universes may have life

Alternative universes may have life

Can stars in alternate universes with different physical constants have potentially livable planets?

What could be the stars in other universes? Scientists have found that stellar systems, where the strength of radioactive decay is stronger or weaker than in our space, may have suitable places for life.

The laws of physics in our universe include a number of fundamental constants, like the speed of light. But many scientific models allow you to create a vast range of universes, called the multiverse, where the laws of physics can differ. Previously, many researchers assumed that sufficiently large differences in the laws of physics would lead to lifeless universes; therefore, only small variations in fundamental constants should be allowed. To develop this idea, astrophysicists studied the universes where the nuclear forces could be different.

Of course, we have no exact evidence for the existence of other universes. If they are, then we still can not watch them. But such a thought experiment will answer the fundamental question: “Should our Universe be as it is, and if so, why?”.

Scientists have focused on the interaction, known as weak nuclear force. It is responsible for radioactive decay, for example, causes neutrons to decay into protons, electrons and electrically neutral particles (electron neutrinos). One way to measure the predisposition of the universe to life is to detect liquid water on the surface of worlds. Previous studies have shown that a universe where a weak force is completely absent can still be considered livable. In the new analysis, scientists considered a scenario where weak force was present, but weaker than in ours, as well as cases where it turned out to be stronger. The findings suggest that neutrons will decay faster in universes with a stronger weak force, therefore the early universe is almost devoid of helium. It is not bad if we concentrate on water represented by hydrogen and oxygen. With a smaller weak force, neutrons decay more slowly, forming a large amount of helium. In order for hydrogen to survive without inclusion in larger atomic nuclei, the other fundamental constant must be smaller. That is, the ratio of baryons, including protons and neutrons, to the photons from which light is made must be reduced.

Weak power also affects how stars pour hydrogen into helium atoms, which can affect bright, red-hot, and large long-lived stars. Moreover, a weak force controls how often neutrinos interact with ordinary matter, affecting the process of depleting energy from stellar interiors.

Universes with a weaker force had b stars with a large amount of deuterium (a hydrogen atom with an additional neutron inside the nucleus). Such objects would be large, bright and red. In the universes with a stronger weak force, the stars were endowed with a large amount of helium-3 (a helium atom releasing a neutron from the nucleus). They were supposed to exceed the brightness and diameter of the stars of our universe. But at the same temperatures, they used to live a lot less. Researchers believe that the stars in the alternative universes are a little different from ours, but their temperatures, sizes, luminosity, and lifespan still provide the possibility of life on the planets. In some universes, stars would pass through a more complex evolutionary cycle, but the findings suggest that the universe has many ways to create and sustain life. Future research will help explore other possible universes with different powers and laws.

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