We humans stand on the verge of opening pathways to many great things. But we are far from what we’ve dreamed to achieve. We, as a civilization, subsist on finding the realities of the universe and build a better place for all of us. There is something known as the Kardashev scale which does the intricate task of dividing any civilization on the basis of energy it consumes. A Type-I civilization has the ability to utilize the power of the entire planet it exists on. A Type-II civilization is exceptionally advanced, it has complete control over all the energy of its host star. A Type-III does the same, but to an entire galaxy. It completely blows the other two civilizations out of the water. A curious mind would inquire as to the status of Humans according to the Kardashev Scale. Carl Sagan developed a formula that listed Mankind to be a Type-0.7 civilization (as of 1973) on the basis of energy consumption. We still have a long way to go.
Michio Kaku, a famous American theoretical physicist, suggests a time frame for us to reach each of the civilization type starting today. He claims that it will take some 100-200 years for us to name ourselves as Type-1 civilization, a few thousand years to achieve Type-2 status, and a million long years to achieve Type-3 status. A million years seem like a really long time relative to lifespan of a human, but is merely a blink of an eye when compared to the age of the universe.
Scientists, notably physicists, have provided us with theories as to how will we tap into the energy of an entire host star or a galaxy. As we are quite close to becoming a Type-I, we can probably imagine what resources and techniques would we employ to harness all of the needed energy.
Fusion Power seems a probable choice as water turns out to be huge source of hydrogen. A cubic kilometer of water contains more amount of hydrogen than oceans of the earth contain the amount of water. This can allow us to generate necessary energy for life long planetary sustenance.
The advancements made today keep our hopes high as to one day, we will end up reaching what we are meant to be. Let’s hope that we don’t get pummeled into nothingness by the weapons of mass destruction before witnessing such greatness.
As a civilization progresses, so does its need of energy. A Type-II civilization builds on the foundation of a Type-1 civilization and might employ fusion reactors but this would now shift to a much larger scale as Fusion reactors would now employ the resources of multiple planets. A Dyson sphere is another probable solution to energy harvesting. For those unaware, a Dyson sphere, in theory, is a megastructure that surrounds an entire host star and would acquire most of the Power emitted by the star. Although such megastructures are theoretically possible, humanity’s engineering knowledge is not nearly as advanced to attempt on building such a structure and so, the concept dominantly remains a part of our fiction stories.
On 14 October 2015, a very strange light pattern from the star KIC 8462852 was observed by the Kepler Space Telescope which raised eyebrows in the speculation of a discovery of a Dyson Sphere.
A Type-III civilization is so advanced that we cannot yet perceive as to how they will capture energy of an entire system. Physicists suggest the Dyson spheres would still be useful here and would be employed on entire galaxies instead of host stars. They might also be able to harness energy emitted from a black hole.
There are extensions to the Kardashev scale. A type-4 civilization would be able to harness the energy of an entire universe. A type-5 civilization steps even further, harnessing and controlling the energy output of a collection of universes. The advancements made today keep our hopes high as to one day, we will end up reaching what we are meant to be. Let’s hope that we don’t get pummeled into nothingness by the weapons of mass destruction before witnessing such greatness.