Kardashev Type III civilizations could be rare

[ 6 ] Comments

These two papers by J.T. Wright’s group were posted today on astro-ph

The Ĝ Infrared Search for Extraterrestrial Civilizations with Large Energy Supplies. I. Background and Justification

J. T. Wright, B. Mullan, S. Sigurðsson, M. S. Povich


The Ĝ Infrared Search for Extraterrestrial Civilizations with Large Energy Supplies. II. Framework, Strategy, and First Result

J. T. Wright, R. Griffith, S. Sigurðsson, M. S. Povich, B. Mullan


Based on the analysis of WISE and Spitzer data, the authors concluded that “Kardashev Type III civilizations (a civilization that extracts fusion energy, information, and raw-materials from multiple solar systems) are very rare in the local universe”.

A Kardashev Type III civilization imagined.  Art by Jon Lomberg.

A Kardashev Type III civilization imagined. Art by Jon Lomberg.

I remind you that we had a SETI hangout on this topic with this group, including as well Jill Tarter and Freeman Dyson in September 2013.

I look forward to reading about the search for Kardashev Type II civilizations from the same set of data.

Clear Skies,

Franck M.


About Franck Marchis

Dr. Franck Marchis is a Researcher at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute since July 2007. Over the past 15 years, he has dedicated his research to the study of our solar system using mainly ground-based telescopes equipped with adaptive optics. More recently he has been also involved in the definition of new generation of AOs for 8 -10 m class telescopes and future Extremely Large Telescopes. He has developed algorithms to process and enhance the quality of images, both astronomical and biological, using fluorescence microscopy. His currently involved in the development of the Gemini Planet Imager, an extreme AO system for the Gemini South telescope which will be capable of imaging and record spectra of exoplanets orbiting around nearby stars.

6 Responses to Kardashev Type III civilizations could be rare

  1. Mark says:

    What about kardashian-type civilizations?

  2. Simon Farmer says:

    Monocultural Fallacy refuted in one sentence: The first civilization to send von Neumann machines establishes hegemony, trumping any mega-slow colony ship.

    A computer program weighs very little compared to person. While analogies to the British Empire are useful for anthropological studies, it has very low relevance to describing even recent ventures into space. Human missions are rigid and largely inflexible; astronauts don’t get to fly around with their jet packs like George Clooney in Gravity — the mission program takes priority.

    In the first paper, the authors concede:

    “For instance, a fleet of self-replicating machines (“von Neumann” machines, Freitas 1980; Neumann 1966) that attempted to exploit the powers of exponential growth could
    rapidly colonize the Galaxy to perform some task.”

    But then go on to state: ” … since the technology of colonies on the far side of
    the galaxy will have advanced by millions of years by the time the berserkers arrive.”

    This refutation is lacking because it makes assumptions that there ARE other civilizations at the time the first probes are sent out, and neglects the most important scenario of the first civilization to have the capability of establishing hegemony, perhaps before any other civilization exists.

  3. Shan Eris says:

    All it means is that, for example, there were none in the Andromeda galaxy, ( M31 ) over 2,560,000 years ago, although they could have been there for more than 2,550,000 years, or in the Large Magellanic Cloud for more than 162,000 years.

  4. CHRIS GREEN(1942) says:

    It is just possible the very recent KeplerianMission check on a Type11 Civilisation is due to a rare orientation -surely of some field star;maybe with a magnetic chemistry involved in its atmosphere? This aspect I claim is a sign of advanced field data we/NASA would not familiar with at all. Coupled with the grouping of exocometry debris(the report stated this latter aspect) we have a potential explanation. However signals have NOT been checked as yet the report stated.What is the opinion of SirBrianCox UK to be?

  5. It is surely possible that a type2 civilsation at present being investigated contains some secret of magnetic chemistry in field star atmospheres?

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