In this episode, I discuss one of the most well-known concepts in the Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence – the Kardashev Scale. Named for famed Soviet-Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev, who died in 2019, this three-level classification system was introduced in his seminal study, “Transmission of Information by Extraterrestrial Civilizations,” published in 1964. The Scale characterizes extraterrestrial civilizations based on the amount of energy they can harness, ranging from the energy of an entire planet to a star system or a galaxy.
In the almost sixty years since it was first proposed, many additions, variations, and articulations have been added to the Scale. Combined with related ideas, like Dyson Structures (or “Megastructures), the Scale has had significant implications for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and is considered foundational to the field of study.
And with video: