Kardashev Scale #2

The average galaxy harbor between 100 to 400 billion stars. Imagine all the energy that radiates from those stars.

Have you ever consider that there is out there, in the vastness of the universe, some other civilization that could be much more advanced than our own? Even if you are not a fan of science fiction you probably had that thought cross your mind at least once in your life right? How could we be alone in this huge universe of ours? Well, let me tell you about this extremely interesting idea of scaling the level of technological advancement of a civilization base on the amount of energy it is able to control. This idea was introduced by the Soviet astronomer Nicolai Kardashev in 1964. He identifies three types of civilizations on his scale, named the Kardashev Scale after him.

Type I:

Type I is what we call a planetary civilization. Its energy output is about 10^16 W. This civilization would need to harvest most of the energy it’s host start radiate on the planet. In addition, it would have to master nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium. The absolute control of all renewable energies like wind, water, and geothermal energies, would be acquired. Basically, all forms of energies that could be collected on the planet would be under the control of that civilization.

Type II:

Type II is a stellar civilization. It has exceeded the energy capability of its home planet and therefor needs to turn to other sources of energy. The energy output of such a civilization is about 10^26 W. That civilization would turn to its star to acquire most of its energy, by building a huge structure around it ( Dyson swarm, ring or sphere). Likewise, that civilization would control and harvest all the other planets, moons and asteroids for energy or building materials. A type II civilization as achieved total control over the stellar system that it originates from.

Type III:

Type III is called a galactic civilization. This immensely advance civilization collects energy on the scale of an entire galaxy. The energy output for that type is around 10^36 W. At this point, collecting energy from planets and from Dyson Spheres would not meet the energy required by that civilization. They would need to become more innovative like harvesting energy from gamma-ray bursts or find a way to collect energy that is discharged by supermassive black holes. The type III civilization is so technologically advanced that their way of collecting energy most likely exceeds our comprehension.

The human civilization:

We humans have not even reached the type I status. But we are not that far behind. The American theoretical physicist Michio Kaku claims that if we increase our energy output by 3% every year, we would become a type I civilization in about 100 to 200 years, a type II in 1000-2000 years and type III in about 100 000 years. Let just say that we have a long way to go to become the owners of our own galaxy.

Written By:

Steven Morrissette
Steven Morrissette

Steven Morrissette is the founder and major contributor to the online science fiction blog/journal Warp Speed Odyssey.

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16 thoughts on “Kardashev Scale #2

  1. I’ve always been fascinated by extraterrestrial life and Galaxy worlds. I think we are not alone I think the government it’s not showing us our neighbors because they just want to do reverse engineering.

  2. These posts are crazy cool. I’ve always thought that there must be other life out there that’s at least as advanced as us and probably far more so. Cool read.

  3. This is a great blog because I love the mysteries of the space. I didn’t hear about this topic before. This is precisely why I love the vast darkness because it has always something new to offer.

  4. i haven’t really thought about this. my boyfriends son would love these ideas though. i will have to show him this.

  5. We spend a good amount of time at work talking about space and our current theory is simulation theory, I’ll have to post these ideas in our WhatsApp group

  6. If the universe is infinite, odds are there are near-infinite civilizations in all three categories as well as a whole bunch of lifeforms that don’t make it anywhere near the complexity required for sentience.

    However, those civilizations are spread out across an infinite space to make them likely to be infinitely (or finitely but nevertheless very, very) far apart, so the chance of coming across them is probably pretty small!

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