The idea that there is proof of running water on Mars has caught the world’s imagination. But imagination of the world, meet imagination of me, which can be a formidable force. Because you see, I have an advantage the world in general does not have: a complete and utter lack of any knowledge of astrophysics. Or geology. Or physics in general beyond the class five text book.

So with that sharp, incisive and keenly questioning mind, I went looking for other seemingly outlandish theories that could be true if there’s water on Mars. Here are a few to keep you intrigued and entertained, and maybe a bit terrified.

We’re due for an asteroid collision

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Planetoid crashing into primordial earth, aka possible apocalypse, end of the world, via wiki

Oh yes, our lovely planet is due for a big kaboom. Dinosaurs went extinct thanks to an asteroid that kaboomed into earth about sixty five million years ago. That asteroid, according to people who found the crater caused by it and measured things I don’t understand, was about six miles, or ten kilometres across. It was so devastating that it made a species that could’ve made us go extinct very easily go extinct. According to more calculations that I don’t even pretend to understand, earth is expected to get hit by an asteroid that size once every hundred million years. We’re past the halfway point there now, so it could be coming.

If that seems unlikely to you, consider this. There are about a thousand asteroids that are close enough to the earth that there could be collision, each at least one kilometre across. That is still big enough to cause the end of civilisation, and there’s a one percent chance that one such could hit every millennium.

Ekpyrotic Universe

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According to this, there are two universes. In different dimensions, but not like parallel universe or multiverses. Pic via wiki

I don’t really understand the minutiae of the Big Bang theory, so there’s no reason why I should understand this theory. It has been touted as something that does not contradict the Big Bang theory, but something that explains the origin of it. According to the Big Bang theory, the reason there was a big bang was mostly ‘because’.

The Ekpyrotic Universe theory has a more interesting origin: it’s that the Big Bang wasn’t an origin point, but a certain point in a cyclic expansion-contraction that the universe goes through. But here’s the really interesting part. This theory says that there are two three-dimensional universes that collided in a fourth spatial dimension to cause that big expansion/contraction moment that came to be known as the Big Bang. This means that there is an alternate universe in another dimension that exists, at this moment, just a few vibrations of atoms away. All kinetic energy and matter in our universe was created thanks to that collision.

Some people also call it the Big Splat theory, giving you the image of two universes that are drawn together until they splat together, causing a huge Bang, after which there’s a period when they move apart again – which is expansion, something that Big Bang theory, too, says is happening to the universe. The cycle continues. It’s also called the Big Bounce, where the Big Bang is the moment that transitioned the universe from contraction to expansion thanks to the big collision in another dimension.

This theory is considered the precursor of the ‘cyclic universe’ theory and actually has a lot of support in the scientific community, and explains the ‘what came before the Big Bang’ question. Or at least, it would if I could understand it. String theory comes into the really accurate scientific explanations, so I assume Sheldon would approve.

Black holes create baby universes

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Simulated view of black hole without baby universes. Maybe it’s knocked up already, who knows. Pic via wiki

Again, in my pathetically layperson’s terms, a black hole draws energy and matter. Everything that goes near its horizon gets sucked in. But what happens to it after it gets sucked in? Energy, matter, everything gets drawn into black holes. It can’t just go nowhere – there’s a vast universe out there, so ‘nowhere’ would also technically have to be part of some universe.

According to this theory, black holes create universes within them. Take this theory far enough, and our universe exists within a black hole.  This means that our universe is in a black hole of another universe, and just like we cannot see what happens in the black holes in our universe, we are also invisible to that bigger universe. And so it goes on, with every black hole potentially having a baby universe in it.

Apparently, this explains things like the ‘impossible singularity’ (an unlikely event used to explain the Big Bang), gravity (or general relativity, which is used to explain gravity) and quantum mechanics. It gives you the idea of ‘spacetime torsion’, which, according to people who actively research this theory, could explain dark energy – the cause of accelerated expansion of the universe that has, so far, not been explained.

Since we can’t explain most things about a black hole, or even locate them accurately, this could very well be true. Why not? Anyway, according to this theory, aliens are a guarantee, and I like ET and ALF.

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