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ETpro's avatar

Does the Universe gain mass and energy as space expands?

Asked by ETpro (34508points) September 27th, 2013

It occurred to me that since what seems to be empty space (or in casual terms, “nothing”) is in reality a boiling cauldron of quantum energy densities with particles such as quarks poofing in and out of existence all the time, and that this empty space currently comprises more mass and energy than all the matter of the Universe combined; the expanding Universe must be getting heavier and more energetic. Since the universe is expanding at an exponentially increasing rate, then energy and mass is in constant increase and there may be a critical limit as it approaches infinity that indeed triggers a Big Bang not due to the gravitational collapse of mass, but to a Big Rip. Fun stuff to contemplate.

If intelligent life is around and a new Big Bang occurs, what happens to the information that was in the collective consciousness? Would it be preserved just like the physical laws and constants that govern the Universe?

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14 Answers

Neodarwinian's avatar

Just to address the question.

I do not think so. Does a balloon gain mass and energy as it expands? It may gain energy, but the mass should stay the same.

Not my area though, so why don’t you ask interesting questions, such as the mechanism and actions of the uncompetitive inhibitor malonate? Then I could answer specifically and accurately!

DWW25921's avatar

I’d have to say no at first glance. Although I will say that you know a lot of really big words. Considering that, there’s probably more to the story that I just don’t get.

ragingloli's avatar

As far as we know, dark energy is not dark matter.
Dark energy may make the universe gain energy, but the mass should stay the same.

ETpro's avatar

@Neodarwinian Didn’t follow any of the links, heh? Where’s your scientific curiosity. And to answer your question, yes. A balloon does gain both mass and energy as you inflate it. Even if you use helium, it has mass and it has energy. The more of it you pump into the balloon, the more mass and energy the balloon has. In fact, you could think of our Sun as a rather large balloon inflated almost entirely with hydrogen, the lightest element in the Universe. And our sun has a mass 330,000 times that of the Earth. Quite clearly, it also has energy.

@DWW25921 This is stuff on the current cutting edge of quantum mechanics right now. And anybody that claims to fully grasp the weirdness of quantum mechanics doesn’t begin to get quantum mechanics.

@ragingloli Roughly 68% of the energy of the universe is dark energy and just 5% of its mass is comes from you and me, the Earth and everything we can observe as mass. It is becoming apparent that vacuum energy either is or plays a role in dark energy. And that energy is generated from virtual quark pairs and lepton pairs that pop into existence and almost instantaneously self annihilate. But this it happening quintillions of times per second and before they self annihilate, they do have mass. So a perfect vacuum has bot mass and energy. More space, more of both energy and mass.

DWW25921's avatar

@ETpro Without looking it up… Quantum Mechanics refers to the relationship between and composition of microorganisms and electricity or energy? I don’t think I have a clue which means I probably know a lot! You have me beat on the big words though…

Neodarwinian's avatar

. ” A balloon does gain both mass and energy as you inflate it. Even if you use helium, it has mass and it has energy. ”

The air you pump into the balloon is the mass and I indicated where my scientific curiosity lies even if YOU don’t understand my username.

” And our sun has a mass 330,000 times ”

It also has a volume. Density = mass/volume

” Just to address the question. ”

My first sentence reiterated, and this will be my last sentence here on this topic.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Maybe yes and maybe no. That’s about the best I can do on short notice:.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
ETpro's avatar

@DWW25921 Quantum Mechanics refers to how things behave at the atomic and subatomic scale. We tend to think of an atom like it’s a little solar system. Science classes often have models that look like that, with the nucleus at the center like the Sun, and electrons orbiting it like planets orbit the sun. For a very long time, we thought that’s exactly how it was. But when we finally developed instruments that let us view what was going on at the subatomic scale, it truly blew the scientist’s mind. Things behave in ways that, at the macro scale we live and see in, seem utterly impossible. They make no sense. But they happily go on behaving that way and when we say that makes no sense to us, they say, “Frankly, Scarlet (or whoever you are), I don’t give a damn.

Here’s an easy to follow video, no big words, but it shows just the first of the strange ways that subatomic things behave.

DWW25921's avatar

@ETpro Holy crap we’re in the matrix! That was strange and very interesting!

ETpro's avatar

@DWW25921 Ha! That’s pretty close to right. Believe me, it gets much stranger and grander than that.

DWW25921's avatar

So I reckon I could awake and fall out of a gooey tube and be run off by mechanical bugs.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I thought space is defined or rather identified by the matter within it. Or to put it simplistically the space comes see into being as matter diffuses.

Bill1939's avatar

My understanding is that the density of spacetime creates mass/energy as demonstrated by the apparent gravitational effect of mass, which Einstein showed is the product of spacetime converging.

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