Energy is an indispensable resource for mankind, and probably the only driving force that made the progression of human civilization possible. Now, what if I tell you that in the next 100 years the mankind will literally be skyrocketing over the technological advancements to an extent where we will be having complete control over the natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, thunderstorms, etc., and can even reshape the weather conditions to suit our needs.
“Lace-up for the Future!”
Just imagine a future of a limitless potential where our capabilities will grow strong enough to harness the energy of not just our home planet but of an entire galaxy located almost a 1000 light-years away from our solar system. To simplify this idea, let me take you back in time when such predictions were made.
Explore the scale of the future!
In 1964, Nikolai Kardashev, a soviet astronomer, proposed a method of measuring how advanced any civilization is based on the amount of energy it can harness or control.
Kardeshev realized that the status of any culture, as a whole, depends on two primary things: Energy and technology. According to Kardashev, a civilization’s technological advancement can be correlated with the amount of energy the civilization can harness and control. What does this mean? It means, the more the energy a civilization will be able to produce, the more technologically advanced they will be.
Taking into consideration the world’s ever-growing dependence on energy, Kardeshev proposed the method in the form of scale, called the Kardeshev scale, which talked about three levels of civilization. So what are these civilizations?
Type 1 – Planetary civilization
“Let’s skip the idea of Mars colonization for a while and focus on the sources of energy we are using since the beginning of mankind!”
The planetary civilization, also known as Type 1 civilization, is a civilization capable of harnessing all the energy available on their home planet. This includes all the energy that reaches the planet such as solar energy, and all the energy it can produce such as thermal energy, wind energy, hydro-power, etc.
Do you think we have levelled-up to the Type-1 civilization? If yes, then look around, do we have enough solar panels installed to harness all the solar energy reaching our planet?
No!!! We are not quite there yet!
Michio Kaku, a renowned physicist, explained that it will take another 100 to 200 years for us to reach up to the Type 1 status.
So, the good news is, we are just 100 years away from Type-1 civilization, but there is a bad news! Once we get to the Type 1, our dependency on energy will rocket sky-high, and we will likely be leaving the Earth, looking to draw more energy from other planets.
If we are going to roam around in our very own solar system to meet our energy demands, why not make use of the total energy potential of the nearest star, which for us is Sun. If we can do this, we can be sure we are heading for the Type 2 civilization!
“What is a Type-2 civilization?”
Type 2 civilization, also known as stellar civilization, would be capable of harnessing the maximum, if not whole, the amount of energy radiated by our very own star.
One way to harness the energy of a star is to build a mega-structure around called the Dyson Sphere. A Dyson sphere would completely enclose a star and capture all of its energy, then be able to transfer the energy for use by the home planet.
Image credit: Dyson sphere
Let’s just slow down for a minute and think about what will happen if a star, like our sun, gets cocooned inside a mega-structure. Well, of-course the process will cut-off the energy supply to other planets. The similar speculation was made about the strange dimming behavior of the Tabby’s star located in the constellation Cygnus approximately 1,470 light-years from Earth. It is believed that the dimming behavior of the star is due to mega-structure built around it that is sucking up all its energy, and the structure is built by none other than our fellow space dwellers, the Aliens!
So if we are 100 years away from Type 1, it’s hard to predict how far are we from becoming a Type 2 mega-structure builders. The predictions are it would probably take 1000-2000 years to level-up to that capabilities.
Type 3 – The “Stellar Civilization”
According to Kardashev, Type 3 civilization could be the ultimate level of civilization’s technological capabilities. He envisioned it as “a civilization capable of harnessing all of the energy of their home galaxy. Yes, you heard it right, a civilization capable of devouring the total energy count of all the stars of a particular galaxy. It is estimated that it would take no less than 100,000 years for a civilization to enter the so-called “Galactic civilization”. This is a future where robots will be programmed for building Dyson Spheres all over the galaxy by making use of some space-propulsion technology to move around.
Perhaps, such a civilization would also be able to harness energy from black holes or create energy-producing stars at will. This was assumed to be the end of our hunger for energy. But it wasn’t!
Although Kardashev didn’t see a need to hypothesize any further civilizations, predictors went ahead with proposing about a world that would be able to harness the energy of an entire universe, and this would level them to Type 4 civilisation, and if we have not contended yet, we can do the same in a multiverse, drawing power from multiple universes, to be known as Type 5 civilization.
Type 4 and 5 in a literal sense, is no less than a god-thing. So what truly a god-stuff means, maybe controlling time and space, or creating universes at will. This is what god-stuff looks like, and this is what Type 6 civilisation is. Type 7? We can’t even imagine what that could be like.
Type 0 – We are at Zero on the Kardashev Scale.
A Type 0 Civilization, as you can imagine, is one that has not yet been able to harness all the energy of its home planet. It is, therefore, a sub-global one that harnesses power from raw materials.
They cannot yet leave their home planet but are making steady progress towards it. Yes, you’ve guessed it, that’s humans today. The late, great, Carl Sagan estimated humanity was at around 0.7 in this scale back in 1973.
Image credit: Carl Sagan
The energy we are pumping out since ages is now choking our environment. Our so-called ‘Environmental activists and heroes of climate change’ has condemned the set of players working in the field of non-renewable energy for issues such as climate change.
To take control of the things before it’s too late, widespread awareness about the consequences of loss of habitat, extensive industrialization, and depletion of fossil fuels leading to global warming, is already in motion.
We are ready with the tools that will lead us to a cleaner and greener future. What we are looking forward to is more and more hands joining the movement for a better tomorrow.