Is our universe finite?

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists said Wednesday the universe could be spherical and patched together like a soccer ball — and it may not be infinite.

Jeffrey Weeks, a MacArthur Fellow based in Canton, New York, and researchers from the University of Paris and Observatory of Paris analyzed astronomical data which suggests the universe is finite and made of curved pentagons joined together into a ball.

In research reported in the science journal Nature on Wednesday, the scientists said data from NASA (news – web sites)’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotrophy Probe (WMAP), which maps background radiation left over from the Big Bang, is not consistent with an infinite universe. “Since antiquity, humans have wondered whether our universe is finite or infinite. Now, after more than two millennia of speculation, observational data might finally settle the ancient question,” Weeks said.

In a commentary on the research, George Ellis of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, said if Weeks and his colleagues are correct we might indeed live in a small, closed universe.

If our universe is finite, I wonder if there is something else over the universe?