It’s one thing to look for life elsewhere in the universe. But why stop there? What about life in all those parallel universes that theoretical physicists like to talk about? A recent paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society suggests that some of that real estate might be home to aliens who aren’t just out of this world — they’re out of this cosmos.
The idea that other universes might exist arises from the realization that the Big Bang might not have been a unique event but a common one. How common? Stanford University physicists Andrei Linde and Vitaly Vanchurin have estimated that the number of unique parallel universes — ones that are independent of the cosmos you know and adore — could be written as a one followed by 10 thousand trillion zeroes. That’s not a number that has a name, and certainly not one you will ever encounter in the real world. I figure it would require 10 billion notebooks just to write this number down.
So, to paraphrase Jodie Foster’s character in the movie “Contact,” if our cosmos is the only one with life, then that’s an awful waste of universes.