Right now, our theories about how the universe evolves are complete enough to make general long term (that is to say, unfathomably distant) projections. We do this in spite of the fact that these theories have gaping holes. General relativity can’t deal well with gravity in anything but the simplest situations, or (famously) black holes. And Quantum Mechanics still struggles to make sense of the possible existence of unforeseen exotic particles (dark matter) and explain why the expansion of the universe is going at an accelerating rate (dark energy).
Logically, these poorly understood phenomenon leave a lot of room for speculation and I might argue that these are some legitimately crucial times for physics. Astronomers (obviously) love to look into the distant future, and it also turns out that the fate of the universe can be theoretically tied to the same sorts of things that relativity posits (space time geometry). And after theories of the Big Bang were experimentally verified it appeared that the universe had three very likely types of possible future: One with a “Big Crunch”, one that was *just right*, and one that was cold and lonely but not quite completely dismal.
Unfortunately for the good-hearted nature of optimistic scientists, they stumbled upon data from one of the first real tests of our power to observe the universe – there’s a completely unpredicted (or less true, that it was “discounted by Einstein”) anomaly that forces the consideration of what would now appear to be a far more likely scenario. Modern Astrophysics says that the nature of the universe is that a force will drive apart all matter and isolate individual particles, effectively in their own timeless and silent universe. This is obviously a terrifying prospect but its so far in the future and we’re really just starting to apply ourselves in understanding the nature of the universe. I don’t think any scientist expects to overthrow the primary pillars of the field (like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle), but I think at least some are hopeful that there might be some way around the challenges. And that’s what I’m interested in right now.
What are we likely to find in the nature of dark matter and dark energy and black holes and long distances and advanced technology? Will we find protons to be absolutely stable? Can we conserve enough information? Do we have a way across the universe, or beyond it? What goes on behind the event horizon of a black hole? Any Ghost Islanders have any thoughts?