Thursday, April 4, 2013
As some of you know I'm working on a scifi novel called NO REST, hence my choice of subject matter for the A-Z blogfest. Among the many things I've learned about is the Kardashev scale which measures a civilization's technological advancement.
Type I is pretty much where we are and where we'll probably be for a very long time. Guillermo A. Lemarchand stated this as "A level near contemporary terrestrial civilization with an energy capability equivalent to the solar insolation on earth, between 1016 and 10 17Watts."
A Type II civ is able to harness the energy radiated by its own star, for example by building a Dyson sphere (I know, you wondering when I was going to get to the title of my post, wern't you?), a hypothetical megastructure originally described by Freeman Dyson.* Such a "sphere" would be a system of orbiting solar-power satallites meant to completely encompass a star and capture most or all of its energy output.
As for a Type III, a civ of this type would be have access to the power comparable to the luminosity of the entire Milky Way galaxy, about 4 x 1037Watts. Yikes.
* Freeman Dyson is a British-born American, theoretical physicist, and mathematician, who is famous for his work in quantum electrodynamics, solid-state physics, astronomy, and nuclear engineering.