What Is the Ultimate Fate of an Open Universe?


Quick Answer

Although the ultimate fate of the universe is a largely debated topic, according to the University of Tennessee, in an open universe the universe will continue to expand forever. This is due to insufficient mass to cause the expansion to stop.

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Full Answer

The open universe is one of three possibilities for the geometry of the universe, the other two being a flat and closed universe. An open universe considers space to have a negative curvature, which leads to the understanding that there is not enough mass to stop the expansion of the universe.

The ultimate fate of an open universe is either heat death, the "Big Freeze" or the "Big Rip." The heat death of the universe suggests that the universe is destined to diminish to a state of where there is thermodynamic free energy and therefore, no longer able to sustain processes that consume energy, including life. The "Big Freeze" theory suggests that the infinite expansion of the universe means that it is going to cool as it expands, eventually becoming too cold to sustain life. According to the "Big Rip" theory, all the matter of the universe is progressively torn apart by the expansion of the universe at a specific time in the future.

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