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July 10, 2008 Far Future Technology, Part 2

...continued from Far Future Technology, Part 1 

Type 2

As you can imagine by now the next levels on this scale stretch our conception of what it means to consume energy to heights that seem godlike, but Kardeshev did, indeed, go further!

Type 2 civilizations are monster energy guzzlers! These are societies that use the entire output of their star's energy. How could they possibly do it? This is where Dyson comes in. He imagines a technology that would build, possibly from broken down large planets and asteroids, a sort of shell around an entire star, so that all that comes off the star will be absorbed by the inside surface of the artificially created shell.

Dyson Sphere - Type 2 Civilization

When reading about Dyson's ideas I was thoroughly excited to find that he had attempted calculations to show that the Dyson Spheres, as they have been called, would reradiate certain wavelengths of infrared (or heat) energy back out into space, due to the heating up of the Spheres from the absorbed energy. Why was I excited about that? Because, if it was known what wavelengths could be coming from these objects it also means that they could be searched for in our skies! Indeed, scientific searches have been conducted for these objects. What has been concluded from these searches so far? Well, from all that I've read it appears that nothing can be concluded from these searches due to the fact that other, naturally-occurring, objects can also be attributed to the heat signatures that are looked for. One naturally occuring type of object, which is exciting in itself, is the embryonic stage of a star. Another signature could potentially come from brown dwarfs; stars that failed to fully ignite their nuclear fusion fires from lack of size. So, there is still potential for Dyson Sphere discovery, but they are seemingly more difficult to find than previously thought.

Incidentally, I can imagine our society reaching a level between that of Type 1 and 2 (but much closer to 1, say a Type 1.3 level) assuming a slower rate of energy consumption acceleration than we are currently experiencing now in about a thousand years. I admit that it is a very wild guesstimate, but with lots of needed assumptions in place, I would say humans will reach Type 1.3 around 3000a.c.e (after Christian era). Can someone please let me know if I'm correct sometime around then? Thanks.

...concludes in Far Future Technology, Part 3

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