A teeny bit of good news: There is a possibility, ever so slight, that we are not, in fact, living in the darkest timeline. That being said, if time moves backward in this new parallel universe NASA scientists believe they've discovered, things are probably going great over there.
That's right. NASA scientists working on an experiment in Antarctica may have detected evidence of a parallel universe, one in which time and the rules of physics are totally opposite to ours, according to one theory around the research.
According to Thrillist, "the researchers were perplexed by 'a fountain of high-energy particles erupting from the ice' in Antarctica at NASA's Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA)."
The University of Hawaii Physics and Astronomy Professor Peter Gorham put it lightly when he said that what they detected "is in pretty strong tension with the standard model of physics." Cool. Cool cool cool. (...as Abed from Community would say.)
Apparently, these high-energy particles the researchers are witnessing usually come from space and cannot pass through the Earth, which is solid. However, ANITA found that these particles aren't coming from space, nor are they reflecting off the ice. They are coming up from under the ice, like Graboids from Tremors.
According to the New York Post, this seemingly impossible phenomenon suggests that these high-energy particles are actually traveling backward in time, which suggests a parallel universe where physics — all of physics — is backward.
Apparently, this sort of activity has been detected multiple times since 2016. Every logical explanation for this has been ruled out; it's simply impossible according to our laws of physics.
Literally the only explanation that makes sense right now is that there's a parallel universe that was created at the same moment as ours in the same Big Bang where all the laws of physics are opposite and time moves backward.
According to Thrillist, New Scientist reports, "In this mirror world, positive is negative, left is right, and time runs backward. It would be a universe 'made of antimatter rather than matter.'" Not going to lie, it sounds pretty great compared to what we're dealing with right now. Is there like, a waiting list to visit? Can I put my name down?
In all seriousness, though, what does a parallel universe look like? Do all of us have a counterpart in this parallel universe? Are there living things in this parallel universe?
That, we don't know. In fact, there is a ton that we don't know because humans have such limited capabilities of perception. Researchers haven't completely ruled out the idea that there could be a malfunction with ANITA or that these particles are simply a "new class of subatomic particle" that humans are detecting for the first time.
It's either one of those or the parallel universe thing, and it's unclear when and if we'll ever find out the truth. "We're left with the most exciting or most boring possibilities," said Ibrahim Safa, who worked on the experiment.
I'll say! In all likelihood, an actual parallel universe might not look like a bizarro, Twilight Zone version of this world where everyone's feet are on their heads and we walk on our hands and talk backward. But if it is like that, I really hope humans develop the capability to perceive and visit this world because, well, I'd want to see that.
Update: Welp, it turns out scientists didn't actually discover a parallel universe. While it's true that there is no explanation for these strange events, but there are tons of theories for why this is happening, and a parallel universe is just one very unlikely one. (One other is that the Antarctic ice itself might be to blame, according to CNET.)
There's nothing about these strange high-energy particles that specifically suggest a parallel universe. It's just one theory. The fact that their movement seems at odds with everything we know about physics might just mean that we have a lot more to learn about physics.
So while the parallel universe theory may be correct, it's a long shot, and there are countless other reasons this phenomenon might be happening. So sweet dreams, folks. Don't worry, and try not to go to bed dreaming of the terrifying parallel universe that could be brimming on the other side of some giant, Antarctic ice.