Does the universe go on forever? Or does it have an edge? Jack and Kate have a few ideas about how to find out, involving a GoPro and a rocket. We ask astrophysicist Katie Mack if the universe is infinite and if a robot explorer will ever send us a selfie from the very edge of its expansion. Her answer will boggle your mind.
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Dr Katherine (Katie) Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist. Her work focuses on finding new ways to learn about the early universe. Katie is also an active online science communicator and is passionate about science outreach. As a science writer, she has been published by Slate, Sky & Telescope, Time.com, the Economist tech blog "Babbage", and other popular publications. Credit: astrokatie.com
Katie has spent her career examining the cosmos. She has studied dark matter, black holes, cosmic strings, and the formation of the first galaxies in the Universe. But even as an expert in mind bending science, Katie admits, "We have our patch of the universe and all we can do is make guesses as to what lies beyond that."
Trying to understand the infinity of the universe is the definition of mystery. Below are some videos for those who want to bend their minds a little more.
Fraser Cain, publisher of Universe Today and co-host of Astronomy Cast, tries to wrap his head around the multiple theories about an infinite universe. This video is part of the Universe Today YouTube series on space. Watching it is a good way to spend 7 minutes if you want a crash course in the implications of an infinite universe.
Lots of people believe the Universe is infinite, but there's a good possibility that might not be the case. Which means that there would be an actual edge of the Universe. If so, what happens at that edge? Is there a restaurant? In this PBS video, the host Matt asks what could you find when you reach the edge? More Universe? Bubble Universes? Back where you started?!
So what can we see? The Hubble Telescope has looked back in time almost to the big bang. The Hubble Deep Field picture is a core sample of the universe that reveals over ten-thousand galaxies, some of which are 10 billion light years away.