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The theory that our universe is contained inside a bubble, and that multiple alternative universes exist inside their own bubbles -- making up the 'multiverse' -- is, for the first time, being tested by physicists. Two research papers published in Physical Review Letters and Physical Review D are the first to detail how to search for signatures of other universes.
Physicists are now searching for disk-like patterns in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation -- relic heat radiation left over from the Big Bang -- which could provide tell-tale evidence of collisions between other universes and our own. The team ran simulations of what the sky would look like with and without cosmic collisions and developed a ground-breaking algorithm to determine which fit better with the wealth of CMB data from NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP).
The authors stress that these first results are not conclusive enough either to rule out the multiverse or to definitively detect the imprint of a bubble collision. However, WMAP is not the last word: new data currently coming in from the European Space Agency's Planck satellite should help solve the puzzle