Kardashev scale

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The Kardashev scale is a method of measuring an advanced civilization's level of technological advancement. The scale is only theoretical and in terms of an actual civilization highly speculative; however, it puts energy consumption of an entire civilization in a cosmic perspective. It was first proposed in 1964 by the Soviet Russian astronomer Nikolai Kardashev. The scale has three designated categories called Type I, II, and III. These are based on the amount of usable energy a civilization has at its disposal, and the degree of space colonization. In general terms, a Type I civilization has achieved mastery of the resources of its home planet, Type II of its solar system, and Type III of its galaxy.[1]

The original and the final draft for this particular scale had energy consumptions ranging so widely from each other, that Kardashev himself revised the scale as to include values between, in hundredths. The human civilization as of 2010 is currently somewhere around 0.72, with calculations suggesting we may attain Type I status in about 100–200 years, Type II status in a few thousand years, and Type III status in about 100,000 to a million years.[2]

Contents

Energy use

Energy is a static quantity and is denoted in joules. Power is a measure of energy transfer over time, and is denoted in watts (joules per second). The three levels of the Kardashev Scale can be quantified in units of power (watts) and plotted on an increasing logarithmic scale.

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