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Preprint

21 August 2002

We propose a description of dark energy and acceleration of the universe in extended supergravities with de Sitter (dS) solutions. Some of them are related to M-theory with non-compact internal spaces. Masses of ultra-light scalars in these models are quantized in units of the Hubble constant: m^2 = n H^2. If dS solution corresponds to a minimum of the effective potential, the universe eventually becomes dS space. If dS solution corresponds to a maximum or a saddle point, which is the case in all known models based on N=8 supergravity, the flat universe eventually stops accelerating and collapses to a singularity. We show that in these models, as well as in the simplest models of dark energy based on N=1 supergravity, the typical time remaining before the global collapse is comparable to the present age of the universe, t = O(10^{10}) years. We discuss the possibility of distinguishing between various models and finding our destiny using cosmological observations.

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Juan Maldacena, José Carlos Núñez (2001)

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Varun Sahni, Alexei Starobinsky (1999)