YEAR POSTED: 2009
If humanity shall ever receive contact from an extraterrestrial civilization, we as a species will most likely use what is known as the Kardashev Scale to determine how advanced they are, how much technologically further they are than us, what technologies they have acquired over the past, how long they have been sentient, and generally any other aspects of their unknown lifestyle as a species.
Born on April 25, 1932 in Moscow, Nikolai Semenovich Kardashev is a Russian and Soviet astrophysicist. Kardashev graduated from Moscow State University in 1955, later moving on to Sternberg Astronomical Institute and earning hid PhD in 1962. After graduating from their, he examined the quasar CTA-102 in search for the first known evidence of extraterrestrial life beyond Earth.
During his work for SETI [(S)earch for (E)xtra(T)errestrial (I)ntelligence], he theorized that some advanced civilizations might possibly be one million or more years ahead of humans technologically. In spite of this idea, he devised a system of classifying civilizations based on how technologically advanced they are.
Type I Civilization
Any type one civilization has exhausted all plant-based fuels (ie: petroleum, oil, natural gas, etc.). They no longer require the burning of these fuels to power their almost completely technology-based lifestyles. Seeing as how one of these species may live with energy demands much greater than our own, they would need limitless and renewable alternative energies sources. They would reach their goals through harnessing their home world's natural energy sources such as geothermal, solar, wind, hydrogen, and tidal power. They would have the ability and knowledge to put piezoeletric panels on much of their surfaces in order to produce phenomenal amounts of power. They might even be able to harness a hidden power source of magnetics.
Type I civilizations are completely able to control everything pertaining their home world. They control when and how hard it rains, when it snows, they control lightning and hail, they control earth-quakes, volcanoes and oceanic tides, and if they are an advanced enough Type I, they may even have the power to manipulated an control the destiny of nearby comets, meteors, and asteroids.
Fictional Type I Example
- The world of Buck Rogers
Type II Civilizations
Beyond the technological advances of Type I civilizations, Type II societies have complete and utter control of their parent star. In spite of this control, the determine the star's ultimate fate and can predict and even manipulate solar winds, solar storms, and even solar flares. If they are significantly advanced and on the verge of becoming a Type III civilization, they might potentially have the tremendous ability to control the size and mass of their parent star, along with its temperature.
If humanity ever becomes one of these so-called Type II civilizations in around one to two thousand years, we will essentially be immortal due to the fact that we can control the very fate of our star; however, we will not be able to protect our species from the impending apocalyptic explosions that we call supernovae; this is a right reserved for the next link in the technological food chain.
Fictional Type II Example
- The world of Star Trek
Type III Civilizations
In approximately five to ten thousand years, humanity may fall into a civilization class known ass a Type III. Being that any civilization that is classified as such is so far forward technological, these societies will have the knowledge and reason to capture and harness the energy of millions of stars. They will go from star cluster to star cluster constructing colossal megastructures that span light-years across the vastness of space, capturing power from all available resources in the universe.
Because these species would be so advanced technologically, they would be entirely immortal to anything (that humanity currently knows about) that comes through their stomping grounds. They would be able to significantly reduce the size or even eliminate a supernova or hypernova altogether. When it comes to black holes or hypothetical white holes (the reverse of a black holes; a point in space with infinite negative gravity), the civilization would merely move their planet and star thousands of light-years from the impending apocalyptic scenario.
When explaining the advancements of Type III civilizations, it may be easier to comprehend their power usage as a guide. Currently, humanity has the ability to output approximately 122 petawatts. In order for humanity to be classified as a Type III civilization, the amount of energy we could expend at our fingertips would need to exceed 2.3 sextillion times that, or 2,300,000,000,000,000,000,000 times what we expend currently.
Fictional Type III Civilizations
- The world of Star Wars
Type 0 Civilizations
When you can not control entire swarms of galaxies, clusters of stars, or even the humble reserves of your own planet, your society is known as a Type 0. Humanity is essentially a type 0 civilization, meaning that we have no control over earthquakes, volcanoes, oceanic tides, when it rains, how hard it snows, etc. We do not obtain a vast energy surplus from the heavens, we get our energy from dead plants.
Even though we do not manipulate our planet around us does not mean that we are far from doing so. According to a theoretical typical energy expenditure of a Type I civilization, we come to about 70% of the way there. Within the next one hundred years or so, humanity should and will surely being going through economic, technological, and philosophical changes, a so-called "societal puberty." The globe will eventually diverge into one government and culture, with a few differences from the crowd every here and there. Essentially, the primary language of a Type I civilization is English, the main music is rock and rap, and the most recognizeable faces will be that of famous actors and actresses.