Kardashev Scale is a proposed method for astronomers to detect and classify highly advanced alien civilizations. It was a ranking system based on the power available to the said civilization and comparing it to various astral bodies.
In theory this could allow astronomers to predict the advancement of an alien civilization the same way as observing the luminosity of stars.
While the Kardashev Scale never reached its original purpose (we have yet to encounter aliens), it became massively popular amongst Sci-Fi communities and theoretical scientists.
It also found use at measuring the development of our own civilization as you can see on the above image.
The original Kardashev Scale had 3 categories, these were:
- Type Ⅰ- “Technological level close to the level presently (here referring to 1964) attained on earth, with energy consumption at ≈4×1E19 erg/sec (4 × 1E12 watts.) Guillermo A. Lemarchand stated this as “A level near contemporary terrestrial civilization with an energy capability equivalent to the solar insolation on Earth, between 1E16 and 1E17 watts.“
- Type Ⅱ - “A civilization capable of harnessing the energy radiated by its own star (for example, the stage of successful construction of a Dyson sphere), with energy consumption at ≈4×1E33 erg/sec. Lemarchand stated this as “A civilization capable of utilizing and channeling the entire radiation output of its star. The energy utilization would then be comparable to the luminosity of our Sun, about 4 × 1E26 watts.”
- Type Ⅲ - “A civilization in possession of energy on the scale of its own galaxy, with energy consumption at ≈4×10E4 erg/sec.” Lemarchand stated this as “A civilization with access to the power comparable to the luminosity of the entire Milky Way galaxy, about 4 × 1E37 Watts.“
Later other people expanded this system, adding the Type 0 category for civilizations (like ours) that have yet to master their planet and the highly speculatory Type IV and even beyond.
Using extrapolation based on the original 3 categories, Carl Sagan suggested a mathematical formula for defining intermediates:
K is the civilization’s development on the Kardashev Scale. P is the civilization’s entire available power in Watts.
In 2008, the world’s average power consumption was 16 terawatts (1.6 x 1E13 W).
With Sagan’s formula that equals (web-friendly form): (log(1.6*10^(13-6)))/10 = 0.72
Similar calculations can be made for various fictional verses which made Kardashev Scale the equivalent of powerlevels in Sci-Fi.
The K number of a civilization can tell its rudimentary strength.
It worths noting though, that the Kardashev Scale doesn’t tell us anything about a civilization’s technology or how efficient it is at the use of said energy. Actually, both of these factors can reduce the K number considerably.
The relation between the two is similar to between raw power and hax.
A sufficiently advanced civilization can beat something theoretically more powerful.
So keep this in mind.
List of civilizations in accordance of Kardashev Scale:
Type 0 (1E6 – 1E16 W, less extensive civilizations)
- Holy Britannian Empire (Code Geass)
- Modern World Humanity (Real Life)
Type I. (1E16 – 1E26 W, geothermic energy of the Earth)
- Most factions and civilizations from Gundam
- Dr. Hell's Army and the Mycenean Empire from Mazinger
- Humanity (Muv-Luv)
- New United Nations Government (Macross) - rather close to Type II
Type II. (1E26 – 1E36 W, luminosity of the Sun)
- ELS (Gundam 00)
- Galactic Empire (Star Wars) - close to Type III
- Humanity (BLAME!)
- Imperium of Man (Warhammer 40,000) - close to Type III
- The Newtype civilization from Turn A Gundam
- Old Republic (Star Wars) - close to Type III
- Space Pirates (Metroid)
- Vajra (Macross) - potentially Type III with all of them included
- Zentraedi (Macross)
Type III. (1E36 – 1E46 W, luminosity of the entire Milky Way)
- Culture (The Culture)
- Galactic Alliance of Mankind (Suisei no Gargantia)
- Hideauze (Suisei no Gargantia)
- Terran Empire (Gunbuster) - temporally reached Type IV status at its peak between the time of Gunbuster and Diebuster
Type IV. (1E46 – 1E56 W, luminosity of a galactic supercluster)
Type V. (1E56 – 1E69 W, power of the entire observable universe)
- Anti-Spirals (TTGL)
- BETA (Muv-Luv) - when you count the entire race, otherwise they lack high end feats
- Xeelee (Xeelee Sequence)
- Photino Birds (Xeelee Sequence)
Type VI. (3.9 x 1E69 W and above, power generation higher than the Universe’s entire mass-energy in every second)
- Celestials (Marvel Comics)
Type VII. (Immeasurable, beyond any quantification)
- Daleks (Doctor Who)
- Downstreamers (Manifold Series)
- Time Lords (Doctor Who)
- Civilizations and Races