In an article from Foxnews.com this morning, scientists are now considering that earth may be a unique planet.‚ “Earth may be trapped in an abnormal bubble of space-time that is particularly devoid of matter,” scientists are hypothesizing.
Dark energy is is a hypothetical exotic form of energy that permeates all of space and tends to increase the rate of expansion of the universe. Dark energy is the most popular way to explain recent observations that the universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate. In the standard model of cosmology, dark energy currently accounts for 74% of the total mass-energy of the universe. (1)
According to the article:
If we were in an unusually sparse area of the universe, then things could look farther away than they really are and there would be no need to rely on dark energy as an explanation for certain astronomical observations.
“If we lived in a very large under-density, then the space-time itself wouldn’t be accelerating,” said researcher Timothy Clifton of Oxford University in England. “It would just be that the observations, if interpreted in the usual way, would look like they were.”
The criticism of this theory is that it negates a principle that has ruled astronomy for more than 450 years: namely, that our place in the universe isn’t special.
When Nicholas Copernicus argued that it made much more sense for the Earth to be revolving around the sun than vice versa, it revolutionized science.
Since then, most theories have to pass the Copernican test. If they require our planet to be unique, or our position to be exalted, the ideas often seem unlikely.
“This idea that we live in a void would really be a statement that we live in a special place,” Clifton told SPACE.com. “The regular cosmological model is based on the idea that where we live is a typical place in the universe. This would be a contradiction to the Copernican principle.”
So the negative of this theory, which says that earth is in unique area of the universe that makes things appear to be farther away than they are, is that it makes earth a special planet, and that just can’t be.‚ Funny, it appears to be the only one in our area of the universe that has life.
What do you think about this uniqueness argument?
(1) “Dark energy.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 28 Sep 2008, 17:05 UTC. 1 Oct 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dark_energy&oldid=241564528>.