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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Dec > Dec 19

Re: Kaku - The Physics Of Extraterrestrial

From: David Rudiak <drudiak.nul>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 11:58:51 -0800
Archived: Wed, 19 Dec 2007 07:20:32 -0500
Subject: Re: Kaku - The Physics Of Extraterrestrial


>From: Gerald O'Connell <gac.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2007 18:54:26 +0000
>Subject: Re: Kaku - The Physics Of Extraterrestrial Civilizations

>>Source: Michio Kaku's Website - New York, New York, USA

>>http://www.mkaku.org/articles/physics_of_et.php

>>The Physics Of Extraterrestrial Civilizations
>>How advanced could they possibly be?

>>by Michio Kaku

>>The late Carl Sagan once asked this question, "What does it
>>mean for a civilization to be a million years old?

><snip>

>A more pertinent question for Carl Sagan to have asked, and
>for the likes of Michio Kaku and Nicolai Kardashev to consider,

>Nowhere in their ruminations do these guys appear to acknowledge
>the distinction between a species and a civilisation. There is
>an imponderably gigantic gap between the continuity of a life-
>form and the continuity of a social system that creates,
>accumulates, preserves, develops and then widely and freely
>disseminates useful scientific knowledge. As a species we are
>still in the process of creating the first civilisation with
>those characteristics, and we only have a couple of hundred
>years track record on the attempt. During this latest attempt
>we've distinguished ourselves by developing the means to totally
>destroy our species, without simultaneously achieving the
>sophistication to safeguard ourselves from that power. Whether
>we like the idea or not, we remain here more by luck than
>judgment.

>If our own example is anything to go by, the biggest challenge
>isn't in harnessing ever greater forms of energy in order to
>achieve galactic and then intergalactic exploration, but in
>creating a civilisation of sufficient wisdom and stability to
>be able to achieve technical progress without destroying itself.
>If this is properly factored into the calculations that purport
>to predict the likelihood of extraterrestrial intelligence, then
>we may well end up with the view that the universe contains an
>infinity of species and just a few dozen civilisations.

>Come to think of it, an even more pertinent question for Carl
>Sagan to have asked, and for the likes of Michio Kaku and
>Nicolai Kardashev to consider, would be 'When will we have a
>civilisation?'

>If idle speculation along these lines is to have any value at
>all, I would speculate that we would be better served by
>pondering the sociology of extraterrestrial physics than we
>are by pondering the physics of extraterrestrial civilisations...

The longevity of technological civilizations has always been
realized to be the major limiting variable in the Drake equation
to the number of such civilizations. Longevity short = few or no
concurrent civilizations in the galaxy; longevity long = many
civilizations.

Not factored into the Drake equation, however, is the
probability of interstellar travel and colonization. Even if
average longevity is low, if only a few ancient civilizations
were stable and achieved such instellar colonization, then the
galaxy could be quite full of such derivitive civilizations,
even if most civilizations end up destroying themselves.

Kaku, et al, are tackling the latter question, namely the
probability of achieving interstellar travel and colonization.
The chief argument against it are the levels of energy required.
Kaku argues that even at low levels of energy growth, such as
our own 3% per year, we will achieve what he calls "Type I"
civlization status in only 200 years, namely able to harness the
energy resources of an entire planet. This would be sufficient
to achieve interstellar travel by brute force propulsion methods
(nothing exotic like wormhole travel). [At only 1% growth, we
would go to Type II status (harnessing energy of an entire star)
in only about 3000 years.]

Here's one way to achieve Type I status using nothing
particularly exotic, only a little beyond our present
technology. Create von Neumann, self-reproducing, artificially
intelligent machines for extraplanetary mining. Create self-
 reproducing solar cell factories on rocky bodies like the Moon
or Mercury and beam the energy to Earth or elsewhere with
microwaves or lasers. The "elsewhere" could be to power
interstellar probes.

Plaster the Moon with solar cells and even at only 10% overall
efficiency we could generate a thousand times more energy than
we do now here on Earth. Similarly on Mercury, with over twice
the surface area and ten times the solar intensity, the energy
would be at least 10,000 times greater, about equivalent to what
we could achieve by covering the Earth with solar cells. That's
Type I status - using the energy of an entire planet.

Point is if we can conceivably do it, so could some ETs, and the
main argument against interstellar travel and the ETH collapses.
As you and others mention, the main problem is surviving to do
it.


David Rudiak


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