A scientific article proposes that we begin classifying extraterrestrial civilizations based on their ability to move astronomical objects.
The precise location of the moon, sun and Earth are vital to all organic life. Therefor it stands to reason that a civilization capable of modifying the trajectory of these celestial bodies could be far more capable of terraforming and colonizing outer space and thus further expanding their influence throughout the galaxy and beyond.
“Class 1 civilizations use astronomical engineering to modify motion of minor bodies, such as asteroids and comets, inside
You could imagine for example, like many Holywood films depict – we have to adjust the trajectory of an asteroid in order to save Earth. I personally believe we are capable of doing this right now,
“Class 2 civilizations use astronomical engineering to modify motion of planets for the purpose of changing the orbits of such planets inside planetary systems.”
Since this is still within the “planetary system” I assume that they mean the extraterrestrial civilization in question is able to adjust the obliquity or precession of the equinox for example, that is – various “extra wobbling dynamics” of the earths spin axial rotation. It may also mean changing the length of day.
Of course, this would have to be done very carefully. Every orbit, and every wobble in the solar system no matter how seemingly insignificant is very deeply connected to each another, even going as far as to effect the timing and magnitude of solar radiation. Without a better understanding of the “Complex Self Organizing Structure of Our Solar System”, this stage of astronomical engineering will be impossible.
The authors do not mention adjusting the movement of the moon while it is still within Earths orbit. Considering the Lunar influence upon tidal motion, ecology and biology it would likely be included in the toolbelt of “Astronomical engineering” Perhaps this feature belongs to group 1, as it is considered a minor body compared to Earth.
“Civilizations use astronomical engineering to eject minor bodies, dwarf planets, and planets from their planetary systems”
What if simply by dislodging a moon from a planets orbit, we can fix certain gravitational and tidal distortions that prevent a healthy atmosphere from forming?
Or perhaps such methodologies can be utilized to create the “ultimate space-ship” Why build one if you could simply engineer the electromagnetic, or gravitational pull of a moon or planet to move about the solar system, or even fly to another star completely? With that being said, once the planet or moon is “dislodged from the planetary system” it may fall more accurately in to the next category of classification.
“Class 4: Civilizations use astronomical engineering to modify motion of
non-stellar interstellar objects in the Galaxy (e.g., interstellar asteroids, free-floating planets).”
What if you could, for example, capture a rogue planet and steer it toward a more optimal “Lagrangian Point” where the gravitational forces equal each other out, allowing for the planet remain in a stable orbit? Imagine in another star system, that there are no suitable planets in the “goldilocks zone” but there is a free floating planet nearby. It may in some cases be easier to steer that planet to a suitable location then it is to dislodge an existing planet from it’s own gravitational nexus. Or you may want to turn an already free floating rogue planet in to a “natural space ship” of the sort.
“Class 5 civilizations use astronomical engineering to modify motion of stars. Among other
things, extraterrestrial civilizations can modify motion of astronomical objects to avoid
existential threats and to take control of their journey through the Galaxy. This classification can
be used to organize and categorize technosignatures that extraterrestrial civilizations produce
when they modify motion of astronomical objects and use such astronomical objects for various
What if pulsars where an engineered sun capable of broadcasting a message? What if all the recently discovered patterns of radio wave frequency from different parts of the galaxy where some form of communication that we have yet to decrypt? What if in the future human beings are capable of engineering the sun to communicate in a similar manner, or to avoid a potentially devastating solar flare, or to even steer the sun around the galaxy like a giant space-ship?
In my opinion, there’s no reason why we cannot use both methods of classification. For example a civilization may be able to harness all the energy of their world and yet still be unable to alter it’s orbital movement. Alternatively, a civilization may have only tapped in to a fraction of it’s entire planetary energy reserve and yet are still capable of adjusting obliquity, procession or eccentricity due to a better grasp of the physics involved.
One reason we may not want to solely rely on the Kardashev scale is because an alien civilization does not and should not have to use an immense amount of energy to be considered “Advanced”