Face A, Face B
Why did you aceept to participate in a conference like this?
Michiu Kaku: Well I am a phycisist, we beieve in things that are testable reproducible and falsifiable.
Now the tightest turn because traditionally scientist would giggle and laught talking about flying saucers and UFOs, the burden of proof was on the believers, prove it, give me the evidence, show me now the burden of proof has shifted to the goverment and the military, now they have to prove that these sightings are not from outer space and another civilization, several things have happened, first we have video tapes, video tapes taken by the UNited States Navy pilots that are testable, we can now see and calculate how fast they move, how fast they can zigzag, what is the the altitude, we know the parameters of these objects now, we did not hace that before and so this means that the burden of proofs has shifted; now the military, the goverment has to prove that there are not from another planet, now they still might be hipérsonic test vehicles, Russia, the United States, China, all three counrries are experimenting with hypersonic vehicles but that’s a big question mark, the other possibility is that who know maybe they are evidence of visitation.
Maussan: All these evidence of visitation, what do you think of it.
Kaku: I think we have to be open to the possibility because of the fact thar we have now discovered 4000 thousand exoplanets orbiting other starts on average, tonight when you look at this time on average every single star, that’s a planer going around it and in fact in the galaxy we can not do a census we now realize that there are over a billion planets that are earth like in our own backyard so to asume that we are the only ones I think is a bit presumptuous when there are literally billions of earth like planets orbiting other stars, that’s also a game chnager si I think the tightest turn now people are open to the idea that yes maybe they are civilizations in space after all the universe is 13.8 billion years old, so far, how old is science, Science is 300 years old.
Maussan: Well, you consideres from Galileo to now.
Kaku: That’s right, years ago we were all peasants and we believed in books rather doing experiments on the universe so we have to be open to technologies beyond the conventional realm.
Maussan: Can you learn from them if we start to study them.
Kaku: Well, we physicist have seriously analyzed the possibility of intelligence throughout the universe, how did we become intelligent for example, we have eyes, we have thumbs and grasping ability and we have a vocabulary, we have voice, we have language, those are the three ingredients for intelligence, now look at the earth today, the animals of the planet Earth, how many of them have good eyesight opposable thumb or a tentacle and a large vocabulary we are only ones, however you are out of space, why can’t we have alien civilizations that also have a good eyesight, good grasping ability and language, that’s the prerequisite to create an intelligence civilization.
Maussan: You mentioned a number of planets that the possibility according to National Geographic it could be 40 billion planets that it could be like earth and these really could harbor many civilizations out there.
Kaku: That’s right, realize that since the universe is 13.8 billion years old, civilizations could have risen and fallen many times in the past and we would not even know about it, that’s how primitive we are, now I have friend of mine physicists who have searched for signals from outer space but it is very primitive, we looked at radio signals but maybe civilizations don’t use radio, maybe for us radio is a whole fashion operating but that’s what we look for and so we realized that we are just beggining to confront the possibility that there are intelligent civilizations out there.
Maussan: Well, there are other signs that have been discovering recently like the Toffee star like these probably huge structures, you know, around some other stars, it looks like now we have three different examples of that.
Kaku: That’s right, we have to realize that civilizations in the future could be type 1, type 2, or type 3, they could be type 1, planetary, they control the weather, they control the colcanoes and the oceans, that’s type 1, so type 2 controls a star like what you mentioned, perhaps they can cover their entire star and use that as an energy source that’s type 2 just type 3 a civilization which is galactic which is several thousand yeras more advanced than us, they roam the Galactic space lanes so if these evidence of visitation is from an extraterrestrial civilization they could be type 3 that is galactic, they play with black holes, they roam the Galactic space.
Maussan: And they could be eternal.
Kaku: Inmortality is something that we scientist are looking at even today, two types of inmortality that perhaps aliens may have, what is digital inmortality, digitize eveything known about us to create a copy of us that is totally digital I would love for example to talk to Einstein, everything known of him can be digitized, there’s books, diaries, videotapes, lectures, everything can be digitized, I would love an opportunity to talk to him, then there is genetic inmortality, we are isolating the genes that control the aging process, what is aging, well, aging is the build up of error, mistakes, in our DNA, they build up with time, that’s why we get old, that’s why we die, but now we have genetic engineering to fix many of these mistakes and so genetic inmortality may be possible, perhaps sometime is this century.
Maussan: And also the Kardashian telling us this, how you can take the code, the levels of society; they mentioned that probably the most difficult is to go from civilization time zero like we are, to civilization type one, especially because of the interest in the oil industry, in the oil, in the fossil fuels.
Kaku: Right, we realize that we are type zero, we do not play with the weather, we do not play with stars, we do not play with galaxies, we use oil and coal as our main energy support, but we are about a hundred yeras from becoming type one, what is the internet, the Internet is the first planetary type one technology to fall into our century by accident, English and Mandarin chinese are the two dominant laguages on the internet, planetary languages are being formed, planetary sports, soccer, football, the Olympics, planetary sports, planetary music, rock and roll, planetary fashion Chanel and Gucci, so we are begging to the the beggining of a planetary culture emerging and by 2100 we will become a planetary civilization, but I think that if we are ever visited by another civilization they will be probably type three, now why do I believe that, when you talk to most scientist about flying saucers they laugh, they giggle because the distances between starts is so great, they say it would take thousands of years so they will go from one planet to another, but do you see that assumen that their type one that assumes that they have antimatter, fusion type rockets, very old fashioned but if there are a few thousand years ahead of us, a million years ahead of us that’s the blink of an eye is the age of the galaxy, them perphaps they have new ways of going across the universe.
Maussan: That’s traveling faster than the speed of light.
Kaku: Well we have something called the Planck energy, the PLanck energy is the energy of the stability of space and time and time itself, space and time because unstable when you go to the Plack energy, we have in Geneva the Large Hadron Collider the PLack energy is a quadrillion times greater than the Large Hadron Collider and if you could attain the plot energy, you can create shortcuts, perhaps shorcuts though space and time, in other words to go faster than the speed of light using Einstein owns equations.
Maussan: It means that the wormholes, the console called wormholes could be a reality.
Kaku: That’s right, in 1935 it was Einstein himself who first introduced the concept of the wormhole, he took two black hole solutions stuck them together to create a gateway between them and that became the first wormhole and that’s like Alice’s looking glass in Alice in WOnderland, when Alice had a looking glass abd she put her hand through the looking glss her hand went from Oxford, England to Wonderland, that is the wormhole and it is a solution of Einstein equations and a type three civilization may have access to the park energy in which case they may be able to use this as a technology.
Maussan: In January 20th, 2005 there was a huge solar explosion from the Sun and the protons demand the matter from the Sun came to earth in just eight minutes, the scientist wondered if there were some portals between the Sun and the earth, and as we understand it was proven by 2008 that they really existed.
Kaku: Well, we do know that if the Sun were to explode right now it would take eight minutes for us to realize because gravity travels at the speed of the light, we knoe that now we have gravity wave detectirs, first preidtec by Einstein in 1916, we noe measure it gravity travels at the speed of light then the question is are there anomalies there in the fabric of space and time, we know that when light goes around the galaxy, it bends like actually then the space itself bends around a galaxy, so space is not uniform and flat, so that, space and time is like a river, a river that can bend a twist and turn as it goes across the heavens and so we are not realised in Einstein equations are much more surprises that we origunally thought.
Maussan: One of them is this possibility that could be something else besides the relativity.
Kaku: I just did not go far enough, I work un something called string theory, but we believe in higher dimensions beyond lenght width and height, we think of a three dimensional world where we can move freely in three dimensions but why not four, five, six, why not hyperspace, well, in physics we do believe that there could be up to perhaps eleven dimensions, I work in something called string theory which we think will allow us to have a theory that goes beyond Einstein, Einstein’s equations break down at the instant of the Big Bang and the center of a black hole to go beyond a black hole to go though creation itself requires a higher theory and string theory; string theory says that we could exist in a higher dimension perhaps 11 dimensional hyperspace.
Maussan: Is that possible?
Kaku: Oh yeah, we think that in fact that’s the dominant theory in theoretical physics that there are other dimensions out there, something that used to be considered a crackpot idea is now mainstream physics.
Maussan: This string theory is your theory, I mean, you have become one of the main experts on this.
Kaku: yeah, I am one of the cofounders of string field theory, one of the main branches of string theory and we think that it is the solution to Einstein’s famous question, can we read the mind of God, is there a God equation, one equation that goes beyond relativity, beyond the quantum theory, that unifies everything into one, one consistent coherent theory and we think that is string theory.
Maussan: One of your last books, The future of humanity, can you tell us about that.
Kaku: We know realize that perhaps when we become a type one civilization we will go to the starts, we have fusion engines, we will have fusion engines, maybe antimatter engines with the ability to go to the nearby stars, but that’s just 10, 20 light years from the planet Earth but I think in the next century we will have the first starships, now one we become type two then there’s possibility of going beyond into the galaxy itself and I think it’s inevitable that we will have to do this, you see the dinosaurs did not have space program, that’s why they are not here today, they had no space program, we have a space program which means we need an insurance policy, plan B just in case something bad happens on the planet earth, it is good to have a settlement and we will be on the moon starting next year, we are gonna orbit the moon with the SLS booster rocket by mid decade we will be on the moon and by 15 years, we hope to be on Mars and so that’s just the beggining of a type one civilization and imagine by the time we are type 2 we will have colonized the entire solar system and even beyond to nearby solar systems.
Maussan: What are the challenges to colonize Mars.
Kaku: Well, one of the problems is cost, the cost of dropping for example, if you take a car ride from your home to work and then you jump your car, car to be very expensive one, ride one car that’s rocketry today, we only use rockets once, just once, we junk them what a waste of money, that’s why we reuse cars and they are now reusable rockets are comming into play, it cost 10 thousand dolars to put a pound of anything in orbit around the planet Earth, take a book weighs about a pound put it in outer space, how much does it cost and thousand dollars a pound, now that’s your weight in gold, think of your body, made out of gold, that’s what it costs to put you in orbit around the earth, to go to the moon is about a hundred thousand dollars a pound, to put you on Mars is about a million dollars a pound, but once we have reusable rockets, once we decrease the cost of space travel the perhaps these costs will drop to the point where families can go into outer space, I believe that our grandkids they may have a honey moon on the moon, then you consider the moon a great place to have a honeymoon and on MArs, yeah, by the end of this century we will have a permanent settlement on Mars.
Maussan: Oh they are planning to have a hotel around the aerth by 2025, is that possible?
Kaku: Oh yeah, it is possiblem it is a question of cost, we have to bring the cost down, it is an engeenering problem, the basic physics is worked out during the World War II, so it is a question of engineering and cost to make it safe and make it affordable for mom and dad.
Maussan: And is the moon going to be habitable.
Kaku: In principle, yes, but there’s not much on the moon that we can use to live off the land you see the early pioneers were able to live off the land they could plant crops, they could shoot game, they could live off the land, they did not have to bring water, they did not have to bring air, they did not have t bring soil with them when they came to a new world and on Mars we do, so we have to create a self sustaining colony, one way to do this is to have satellites go around Mars to heat up the ice caps, the ice caps have plenty of water, MArce once had oceans, rivers, lakes, almost a tropical envorironment, practically by beaminng energy from the Sun onto the ice cap we can melt the ice caps and water will floe on Mars once again.
Maussan: What happened in Mars, they say that it was like the earth some billions of years ago?
Kaku: In fact Mars was tropical before the Earth, Mars colled off before the earth, some people think that maybe DNA got off the ground on Mars first, we are the martians, so we have to do several things, first of all once we are on Mars we have that energy will get from sunlight and we have to create genetically modified algae to thrive in a carbon dioxide cold enviroment, so genetically engineer planst, algae to thrive in this enviroment of the planet Mars, the great crops so we can eat.
Maussan: Like in the Martians?
Kaku: Yes, like in the movie the Martians.
Maussan: Is that possible, are we gonna do it, looking as much as the next house for human beings.
Kaku: it is definitely possible, however cost again is going to be a problem, one of the things about cost is that the asteroids may be the stepping stone for colonization, for example, years ago when Thomas Jefferson negociated with Napoleon by the mid half of what became the UNited States, Thomas Jefferson though that it would take a thousand years to colonize the midwest, it took a few decades, why, the gold rush in 1848, gold was discovered in California and instead of taking a thousand years to colonize the United States it takes a few decades, so there’s a new gold rush because asteroids have platinum and rare earth elements in large quantities, you see when the arth was mlten billions of years ago, maybe the rare elements sunk to the center of the earth to us, doe snot have too much very valuable elements, asteroids never had that, therefore asteroids have more platinum, more rare element or commercially valuable, one large asteroid can pay for teh entire space program.