Friday, March 28, 2014

Kardashev Scale & Conquering the Universe

As humans, we often lose sight of how insignificant we are in the grand scope of things. Out of the millions upon millions of galaxies, we only live in one, and inside of that galaxy, we inhabit only one solar system, and even further, one planet. We merely represent a single point on the infinite space-time continuum. But that is about to change, says the MarsOne Space Exploration Company. Their goal is to successfully land humans on Mars so that we can begin to inhabit it. Dubbed “the next giant leap for mankind”, the first mission will be launched in 2018. While this is still incredibly insignificant in the big picture, this would be a very monumental step in populating and inhabiting the universe, if that is the ultimate goal going forward.

However monumental of a step this turns out to be, we are still a type 0 civilization according to the Kardeshev Scale, which is “a method of measuring a civilization’s level of technological advancement, based on the amount of energy a civilization is able to utilize”. The more energy a civilization can utilize from various sources, thus produces a proportionally higher level of civilization, going from level 0 to 3.

In further detail, a type one civilization ranking is given to one that is able to harness all of the energy from the nearest neighboring star, and in turn meeting all of their society’s energy needs. To put this in perspective, if we as humans wanted to attain this energy standard, we would need to boost our energy production by 100,000 times. In addition to having this much energy, we would have the power to control all natural forces, including volcanoes, earthquakes, and the weather.

A type two civilization would not only have the capabilities of a type one civilization under the assumption that they could harness all of the power from the nearest star, but they would also be able to now control the star. If humans lived long enough to reach this status, we would have reached a level of invincibility. Nothing known to science could wipe out a type two civilization. A moon-sized object hurtling towards the Earth would not even pose a threat. Humans of this age would have more than enough resources to obliterate this threatening object. Humans could vaporize it, move the Earth out of the way, or move a planet such as Jupiter in front of us to block it from hitting us.

Lastly, a type three civilization would encompass a race that had the ability to travel across the galaxy with an ultimate knowledge of everything that has to do with energy. The species that have attained this rank would go on to populate and colonize star after star.

Kardashev did not believe that it was practically possible to become any type of civilization after a rank of three. Yet for theoretical reasons, other scientists laid the groundwork for a type four and type five civilization. A type four civilization is one that could harness the energy of the entire universe. And a type five civilization is that of one where the people had god-like powers, able to manipulate and control the universe however they please.

As a type 0 civilization, it only underscores how immature and insignificant of a society we are. However, companies looking to pursue similar endeavors like the MarsOne initiative have us on the right track for advancing us as a society.
Tyler Wellener