Scientists are looking to turn science fiction into science fact by investigating the possibility that a mirror universe actually exists. The concept is a relatively simple one: a separate world that has the same essential design as a main, or Prime, world, but events have unfolded differently creating a universe that is the same in basic structure alone.
While this idea has been used in everything from Netflix’s teen horror series Stranger Things to NBC’s satirical comedy Community, it’s likely most prominently remembered as a part of the stalwart sci-fi franchise Star Trek.
The Mirror Universe in this instance adheres to the essential rules of the concept with the big difference being that people from this alternate world tend to be evil versions of the heroes. So, fans got to see Spock face off with a twisted version of himself in the Original Series, and Star Trek: The Next Generation aficionados got to watch the Enterprise-D crew take on their nefarious alter egos as well.
This long-standing theory is finally being put to the test by physicist Leah Broussard out of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in eastern Tennessee. Specifically, she intends to send a beam of subatomic particles down a tunnel and past a magnet where it will eventually meet an impassable wall.
Now, should the experiment prove successful, then some of those particles will become mirror-image versions of themselves, which will, in turn, allow them to pass through the wall and prove the existence of a Mirror Universe parallel to our own.
During a recent interview, Broussard elaborated on the experiment, saying:
“This is a pretty straightforward experiment that we cobbled together with parts we found lying around, using equipment and resources we already had available at Oak Ridge,”
However, she follows this up by pointing out the amazing ramifications of such a discovery, stating that “If you discover something new like that, the game totally changes.”
It’s exciting to see a series like Star Trek have such impact on real world science, but as a society, we should probably get ready for an invasion of evil bearded lookalikes or nightmare monsters with no eyes. Either way, be on guard.