ANALYSIS: Cosmic Rebirth Encoded in Background Radiation?
As an example, consider that space itself can bend in the presence matter or, more precisely, mass. This is actually the phenomenon we call gravity. Locally, the sun warps the space in our solar system and Earth rides this bent space like an astrophysical slide in an orbit around the star.
Similarly, an entire universe filled with matter and radiation can do some large-scale bending. In fact, on paper there are actually infinitely more ways for a universe to exhibit some large-scale curvature than for it to have no global bending.
ANALYSIS: Planck Stares Through Our Dusty Milky Way
Oddly enough, the universe we live in looks eerily flat. The original Big Bang model can only attribute this to an unexplained, delicate initial arrangement of the matter and radiation in our universe that prevented any large-scale curvature.
If a process like inflation occurred, the flatness of our universe is explained more naturally. In the way a wrinkled balloon and a smooth balloon begin to become indistinguishable if you inflate them enough, an exponentially inflated universe would no longer require a delicately arranged initial stage with respect to the arrangement of matter and radiation. Our cosmos could have begun with nearly any curvature and emerged looking flat after a period of inflation.