How to dominate the universe in three easy steps …
Step 1: Harvest all of your planet’s resources.
Step 2: Harvest all of your nearest star’s energy.
Step 3: Harvest all the energy from all the stars in your local galaxy; then move on to another galaxy.
Congratulations! Your species now has all the elbow room it needs to grow into a universal superpower.
That’s one Russian astronomer’s perspective, anyway. Astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev first proposed these three phases (called Level I, II and III) of galactic expansion — which he referred to as the three “types” of technologically advanced civilizations — in 1962 as a way to measure the energy consumption of increasingly powerful societies. Recently, a paper posted June 13 to the preprint journal arXiv.org has revived Kardashev’s model and added a new, apocalyptic twist. [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Aliens]
According to the author of the paper, Dan Hooper — a senior scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois and a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago — harvesting energy from distant stars isn’t just the best way to increase a civilization’s available resources. It’s also the only way to prevent the ever-expanding universe from leaving that civilization totally alone in the vastness of space. (This study has yet to be peer-reviewed.)