By John Syed
Cosmic timescales can be deceptive due to their sheer size and seeming irrelevance to mundane concerns. When the average persons hears about a cataclysmic event possibly annihilating human life 1 million years from now, that information generally gets disregarded with a pompous chuckle or a child like awe; but with no real thought given to it beyond that moment.
Yet, if we see ourselves as a united species that includes all that came before us and everyone that will come after us, then the need to innovate ourselves out of our inevitable doom is more important now than ever. We are in a multi-billion year relay race to save humanity and our current generation is holding the baton.
For the moment, let’s suspend our concern over calamities created by humans that could destroy us. Also, let’s assume we are on the right side of the probability of any potential astroid impact or getting blasted by a random gamma ray burst from a distant galaxy.
Instead, let’s shift our focus to the inevitable; there is a 100% chance that Earth will succumb to the absolute evolution of our Sun. If we don’t figure out a way to travel and live beyond our home planet then some time within 300 million to 7.5 billion years from now, humanity will cease to exist. The chance of that as previously stated is 100%.
While I won’t go into the mechanics of how or why that will happen, you can read about it here: (NASA).
What I will talk about is that the technology we develop today and the seeds we plant in the minds of our youth who will ultimately carry today’s work forward; is paramount to any other mission we have as humans.
In 1964, Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev organized the evolution of human technology in a way that enabled us to measure our progress towards liberating humanity from Earth and even beyond our own Solar System.
- A Type I civilization, also called a planetary civilization—can use and store all of the energy available on its planet.
- A Type II civilization, also called a stellar civilization—can use and control energy at the scale of its planetary system.
- A Type III civilization, also called a galactic civilization—can control energy at the scale of its entire host galaxy.
This is known as the Kardashev Scale. (read more here)
At the core of Kardashev’s measurement is the amount of energy humans have access to in order to achieve any meaningful progress. In History Channel’s series The Universe; during Season 1, Episode 12 at the 2:45 second mark; they describe the energy required to accelerate a bowling ball to 99% of the speed of light. The energy needed to perform this hypothetical feat, will be all of Earth’s energy directed at the bowling ball for an entire week.
Considering we as a civilization have yet to achieve Kardeshev’s Type I status; unable to harness our own planets full energy potential, we are incapable of moving any solid object even close to the speed of light. We are sadly limited in our technology and ability. And therein lies the existential threat facing human survival; our own limitations.
To become an intergalactic species, we need to first harness the full power of our home planet, then our Sun and then that of the Sun’s in our neighboring galaxies. Only then will increase our chances of survival.
Until then, the clocks of our manufactured time tick away as we focus on mundane issues that ultimately hold us back from our true and ultimate potential, becoming the apex specifies within our version of the universe.