Will the universe be destroyed at some point?
Astronomy: 16 minutes before the end of time, the earth explodes
The cosmos grows like a yeast cake. Each point moves away from each other, and the further two points are apart, the faster their distance grows. But unlike a yeast cake, the expansion of the universe is also accelerating - instead of being slowly slowed down, as expected, by the gravity of the stars and galaxies.
This surprising discovery was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011. But the phenomenon cannot yet be explained. Based on the mysterious and earlier discovered dark matter, the researchers christened the phenomenon dark energy.
According to observations, this dark energy makes up the lion's share of the cosmos. It consists of only 4.5 percent visible matter from which stars, planets and people are made up. Invisible dark matter is around five times more common and only reveals itself through its gravity, and its nature is also unexplained. The rest of the universe, just under 73 percent, is dark energy.
Researchers believe three variants are possible: The dark energy could be a previously undiscovered force field that fills the entire room. Your energy density should then gradually decrease as the room grows, thereby diluting the dark energy.
Or dark energy is a property of space itself. Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity knows such a property in the form of a so-called cosmological constant.
Your energy density should then remain constant over time. And finally, the dark energy could also be an illusion that suggests that gravity works differently than we currently believe.
Great scientific mystery
"Dark energy is one of the great scientific mysteries of our time, so it is not surprising that many researchers have doubts about its existence," says Bob Nichol of the University of Portsmouth in the UK.
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