A Civilization Grading System?

Somewhere in the concluding paragraphs of a previous post, I wrote:

..we may in the distant future, …conquer the solar system, nigh, the galaxy, in the same way we conquered the earth.

This gives rise to a lot of questions. What does the term “conquer” mean in this context? Does it allude to physical occupation? Vanquishing, perhaps? Or utilizing all resources? And how do we measure our progress, anyway? For now, we don’t have any other species to compare with. What should we make our long-term goal?  What are our objectives?

astro_civ

Answers to some of the above questions were suggested by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev. He created the Kardashev Scale, which is a way to measure a civilization’s technological advancement by looking at the amount of energy it is able to utilize. Basically it’s like a civilization grading system. Here’s a brief explanation of the Kardashev Scale, by Dr. Michio Kaku:

In other news, the Perimeter Institute published an interesting article on their website on what famous scientists (mostly physicists) did in their spare time. It’s a very good read. Check it out here.

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