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Could cosmic expansion be coming to an end?

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So a recent paper argues:

After nearly 13.8 billion years of nonstop expansion, the universe could soon grind to a standstill, then slowly start to contract, new research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests.

In the new paper, three scientists attempt to model the nature of dark energy — a mysterious force that seems to be causing the universe to expand ever faster — based on past observations of cosmic expansion. In the team’s model, dark energy is not a constant force of nature, but an entity called quintessence, which can decay over time.

Brandon Specktor, “The universe could stop expanding ‘remarkably soon’, study suggests” at LiveScience (May 2, 2022)

What would a contracting universe change?

The paper is open access.

Old Billy Ockham would get a kick out of all these named Entities. polistra
I had to laugh at the part that reads:
. . . the predictions in this paper are currently impossible to test. For now, they can only remain theories.
Lessee, the expansion of the universe continues to accelerate . . . BUT, while we can't actually test this, it just might actually start slowing down in the next 65 million years! Wow, be still my beating heart! And this is called "a theory"? How about calling it pure speculation without a shred of observational data. Nevertheless, it gets published for a ground-breaking "maybe." Maybe I should submit a paper to the same journal to the contrary, claiming that the rate of acceleration just MIGHT instead actually increase in the next 25 million years! And then, someone else can publish a paper claiming that with enough grant money, they should be able to determine that the acceleration rate MIGHT just stay the same after all. This really should get the Charles Darwin "MUSTA COULDA MIGHTA" prize for advanced speculation and thumb sucking. -Q Querius

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