Depending on the properties of dark energy that makes up about 70 percent of the current content of the Universe, researchers have proposed several possible scenarios of the ultimate fate of our world.
One is that the Universe will end in a so-called big rip.
Now, five researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China, the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Northeastern University, and Peking University have explored this interesting topic.
For millennia, human beings have been pondering two ultimate questions: “Where do we come from?” and “Where are we going?” Over that time, these questions have spurred theological and philosophical debate. Thanks to the rapid development of modern cosmology in the past three decades, scientists nowadays have obtained some important clues to answer these questions. The standard “inflation plus hot big bang” framework has been developed to explain the origin of the Universe.
However, to forecast the destiny of the Universe, researchers have realized that the nature of dark energy is key.
In the absence of a consensus on what dark energy is, a phenomenological description of the equation-of-state parameter w—the ratio of pressure and density of dark energy—provides an important means for investigating dark energy dynamics.
Properties of dark energy will decide the ultimate fate of the Universe. In particular, if w is less than -1 at some time in the future, dark energy density will grow to infinity in finite time, and its gravitational repulsion will tear apart all the objects in the Universe. This “big rip” (or “cosmic doomsday”) scenario is the major focus of the paper.
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