Current science papers support science fiction premises


Good science fiction should start with scientific facts. But of course, science is a dynamic enterprise that involves many current mysteries and uncertainties, so there’s plenty of room to develop an imaginative theme while exploring the fringes. Here are five edges a reader or writer might want to explore:

It might actually be possible to get to a distant galaxy through a wormhole, according to a recent paper. A wormhole, first envisioned by Einstein and Rosen in 1935, “is a special solution of the equations describing Einstein’s general theory of relativity connecting two distant points in space or time by a tunnel.” (Live Science) It has long been considered hypothetical at best and impossible at worst, but the new paper deviates from that:

Unfortunately, most leading hypotheses about wormholes indicate that once they form, they would collapse due to instability. However, a new theory to be published in the Journal of Modern Physics D suggests that wormholes can actually remain stable enough for objects to enter on one side and exit on the other…

However, using the Eddington-Finkelstein metric, Koiran was able to mathematically simulate a path for an object into a black hole and through a wormhole, rather than collapsing at the event horizon.

Tony Tran“New paper claims you could climb through a wormhole to a distant galaxy.” futurism The paper is freely accessible. (November 16, 2021)

Visiting other galaxies would then be much closer to a possibility.

Life may have begun in space – at least partially:

In their quest for the origin of life, researchers have found a new clue by showing that peptides can form on dust under conditions such as exist in space. So these molecules, which are one of the basic building blocks of all life, may not have formed on our planet at all, but may have formed in cosmic molecular clouds…

Now that it is clear that not only amino acids but also peptide chains can be formed under cosmic conditions, when investigating the origin of life we ​​may have to look not only at earth but also more into space.

Friedrich Schiller University Jena“How Life Came Onto Earth”. ScienceDaily (February 10, 2022) The paper is freely accessible.

In fact, even evolved life from outer space has been suggested as such serious possibility because it circumvents the mystery of how the complexity of life on Earth could have formed in the comparatively short amount of time the planet allows. In any case, it’s a viable hypothesis. A 2018 open access paper in Advances in biophysics and molecular biology even argues that the “Cambrian explosion that produced most of the basic animal life forms we see today was the result of extraterrestrial viruses carried by a meteor that crashed to earth 540 million years ago.” Even squid eggs, the researchers suspect, could be extraterrestrial in origin. While that sounds far-fetched, it should be seen in the context of the octopus’ remarkable intelligence (for an invertebrate), which confuses expectations. In any case, many scientists are seriously considering the possibility that life, or parts of life, could be of extraterrestrial origin.

Significant discrepancy between the Standard Model for the beginnings of the Universe and the number of disk galaxies raises questions about how accurate current models of our Universe are:

In the current study, Kroupa’s doctoral student Moritz Haslbauer led an international research group to study the evolution of the universe using the latest supercomputer simulations. The calculations are based on the standard model of cosmology; they show which galaxies should have formed by now if this theory were correct. The researchers then compared their results with what is currently probably the most accurate observation data of the real universe that is visible from Earth.

“Here we encountered a clear discrepancy between prediction and reality,” says Haslbauer: “There are apparently far more flat disk galaxies than can be explained theoretically.”

University of Bonn“Too many disk galaxies than theory allows for”. ScienceDaily (February 4, 2022) The paper is freely accessible. The paper is freely accessible.

The researchers offer an alternative hypothesis that dispenses with dark matter. It turns out there’s plenty of room for new hypotheses and thought experiments:

Unfortunately, for all its unprecedented success in explaining the physical foundations of the universe, the Standard Model still fails to explain everything. The rate of expansion of the universe was not predicted to accelerate. It is about the imbalance of matter and antimatter. And it’s silent on dark matter, which could make up 27% of the universe.

Ross Pomeroy“Four Bad Holes in the Standard Model of Physics”. RealClearScience (February 4, 2022)

There is an Earth-like planet orbiting the closest star to our Sun.

Found by ESPRESSO, part of the Very Large Telescope Array in Chile, it’s currently just a planet candidate – meaning it’s awaiting confirmation from other astronomers – but researchers are hopeful it will verify:

Astronomers have discovered a third planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the star closest to the Sun. Dubbed Proxima Centauri d, the newly discovered world is likely smaller than Earth and may have oceans of liquid water.

“This shows that the nearest star likely has a very rich planetary system,” says Guillem Anglada-Escudé, an astronomer at the Institute of Space Sciences in Barcelona, ​​Spain, who led the team that discovered the first planet orbiting Proxima Centauri in 2016.

David Castelvecchi“Earth-like planet orbiting the nearest star to the sun”. nature (February 11, 2022)

At 26% of Earth’s mass, Proxima Centauri d is much smaller than Earth. Its star is 4.25 light-years away, so we would need to travel close to the speed of light to physically explore the planet within reasonable time constraints. But it’s something to strive for, and sci-fi around it might be based on reality.

And just when we thought the world was easy to define and describe, imaginary numbers might be required Describing reality, new studies find, although physicists would have preferred to avoid them:

In their updated version of the classic Bell test, the physicists designed an experiment in which two independent sources (which they called S and R) would be placed in an elementary quantum network between three detectors (A, B and C). The source S would then emit two light particles or photons – one at A and the other at B – in an entangled state. Source R would also emit two entangled photons and send them to nodes B and C. If the universe were described by standard quantum mechanics based on complex numbers, the photons arriving at detectors A and C would not need to be entangled. but in a quantum theory based on real numbers, they would. Imaginary numbers are necessary to accurately describe reality, two new studies have suggested.

To test this setup, the researchers in the second study conducted an experiment in which they aimed laser beams at a crystal. The energy that the laser gave to some atoms of the crystals was later released as entangled photons. By looking at the states of the photons arriving at their three detectors, the researchers found that the states of the photons arriving at detectors A and C were not entangled, meaning their data could only be described by a quantum theory involving complex numbers used.

Ben Turner“One might need imaginary numbers to describe reality”. live science (21.12.2021) The study at nature is openly accessible. The at Physical Verification Letters requires a subscription.

Quantum theorists may not like it, but we’re told that the two new studies show that “if quantum mechanics is correct, imaginary numbers are a necessary part of the mathematics of our universe.”

Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder puts it this way: “Either accept complex numbers or accept that nature is even more non-local than quantum mechanics.”

Science fiction has to make sense, just like any narrative has to make sense. Alternate universes need to hold together, at least from the reader’s perspective. But the universe we live in today offers enough challenging facts that imaginative science fiction can become a valuable way of exploring reality.

You might also like to read:

Is life from outer space a viable scientific hypothesis? Panspermia is currently rated as “plausible but not convincing”. Marks, Hössjer and Diaz discuss the problems. Famous atheist scientists have favored panspermia because there is no plausible purely natural explanation for life on earth that would render it unnecessary.


Scientific paper: Could squid be aliens from outer space? It is the intelligence of the octopus that causes such common theses to float in the scientific literature. There’s no simple explanation for how clever the eight-armed invertebrate is. So even if we reject an extraterrestrial origin, we are still puzzled.


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