NASA Didn't Discover a Parallel Universe, but Pop Culture Imagines What It Could Look Like

The internet has been blowing up with claims that NASA discovered a parallel universe that acts entirely different from our own. This isn't necessarily true, but it's got us thinking about the concept of parallel universes and what they look like in pop culture.

In case you missed it, NASA has revealed that it had found some particles that behave different from what's expected of them. This could be something science doesn't yet understand, or it may even have to do with the ice in Antarctica, where the particles were found, according to Forbes. The weird part is the particles could mean that somewhere, time moves backward, promoting the idea of a parallel universe in which both time and physics behave oppositely from our own.

Again, NASA has not discovered this parallel universe, despite what some headlines say. But it does leave room to imagine what a parallel universe would look like if it really did exist.

Science fiction and fantasy media have promoted so many different manifestations of a parallel universe. We can look back to Stargate, and imagine a portal may someday give us all the chance to venture into another place entirely. Or, of course, we can examine films like Interstellar that give us reason to imagine black holes may transport us to another universe where time moves differently.

This view of the rising earth greeted astronauts Borman, Anders and Lovell as they came from behind the moon after the lunar orbit insertion burn during Apollo 8 moon flight. Recently, NASA revealed that it had found some particles that behave different from what's expected of them. Bettmann

If NASA really does discover a parallel universe where time moves in the opposite direction, it gives some credit to the writers of these works. That's because time plays a crucial role in them. Look at Back to the Future: It's not a parallel universe film, but it puts forth the idea that time is not just pushing on in one direction. Some believe that time isn't linear and that the idea that time can move backward may validate some of the wild ideas Hollywood has presented about the different formats it can take.

There are some entirely out-there ideas, too. For example, Stranger Things posits the idea of the "Upside Down." In a way, this even connects to the current, incorrect headlines about NASA, which suggest this alternate universe is right next to our own.

The Stranger Things story line places a lot of emphasis on the odd design of the world, which apparently lies directly next to our universe. The Upside Down appears to be empty (maybe even reminiscent of a fictionalized black hole, with many liberties taken). At the same time, the ground is full of water.

Within the alternate universe, the human characters can seemingly live and evolve at the same pace as in the human world. But in the Upside Down, they're surrounded by gruesome creatures and a general feeling of darkness and dread that's only apparent on earth with the breach of the other world.

We still have no idea what a parallel universe would really look like, if it were to exist. There is a theory that infinite universes exist, we just haven't proved it yet. But science fiction works have decorated our brains with images of possibilities, and we never know what could be discovered next.