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Holes in the universe could help explain why it's ripping apart. The number and size of cosmic voids could shed light on the mysterious dark energy that is causing the universe to grow at an ever-increasing pace.

In the late 1990s, astronomers realised that the expansion of the universe was accelerating and attributed this to the inherent "dark energy" of space-time.

But we understand little about dark energy. Each unit of space-time contains some, but if this energy density changes with time, it implies different fates for our universe. If it is constant, as current observations suggest, then the universe will expand forever. But if it changes, we could be heading for a more dramatic end, like a big rip or a big crunch.

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