Kardashev scale is a tool created to categorize both human civilization and the civilizations of extraterrestrial beings. On this scale, a civilization is ranked based on their energy production and consumption levels.
The scale was originally designed in 1964 by the Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev (who was looking for signs of extraterrestrial life within cosmic signals).
Kardashev came up with the idea that the status of a culture, as a whole, depends on two primary things: Energy and technology.
- TYPE I (K1, (10¹⁶W) – Planetary Society.
This is the first level of technological advancement, in which civilization is able to harness all the energy on the planet where it dwells. For Earth, this value comes to roughly 7×1017 watts.
- TYPE II (K2, 10²⁶W) – Interplanetary Society.
A Type II civilization can harness the power of their entire star (not merely transforming starlight into energy, but controlling the star).
- TYPE III (K3, 10³⁶W) – Interstellar (Galactic) Society.
Type III can freely move throughout the galaxy, capturing energy from nearby stars while colonizing hospitable planets.