Physicist suggests nanotech to deal with heat death of universe

String theorist Michio Kaku suggests molecular nanotechnology as one way to deal with the heat death of the universe: "There is nothing in the rules of science to prevent the regeneration of an advanced civilisation from the molecular level. For a dying civilisation trapped in a freezing universe, this may be the last hope." The size of his proposed devices seems to vary, however. Read more for the full quote. Send a nanobot to recreate civilisation

If the wormholes created in the previous steps are too small, too unstable, or the radiation effects too intense, then perhaps we could send only atom-sized particles through a wormhole. In this case, this civilisation may embark upon the ultimate solution: passing an atomic-sized "seed" through the wormhole capable of regenerating the civilisation on the other side. This process is commonly found in nature. The seed of an oak tree, for example, is compact, rugged and designed to survive a long journey and live off the land. It also contains all the genetic information needed to regenerate the tree.

An advanced civilisation might want to send enough information through the wormhole to create a "nanobot," a self-replicating atomic-sized machine, built with nanotechnology. It would be able to travel at near the speed of light because it would be only the size of a molecule. It would land on a barren moon, and then use the raw materials to create a chemical factory which could create millions of copies of itself. A horde of these robots would then travel to other moons in other solar systems and create new chemical factories. This whole process would be repeated over and over again, making millions upon millions of copies of the original robot. Starting from a single robot, there will be a sphere of trillions of such robot probes expanding at near the speed of light, colonising the entire galaxy.

(This was the basis of the movie 2001, probably the most scientifically accurate fictional depiction of an encounter with an extraterrestrial lifeform. Instead of meeting aliens in a flying saucer or the USS Enterprise, the most realistic possibility is that we will make contact with a robot probe left on a moon from a passing Type III civilisation. This was outlined by scientists in the opening minutes of the film, but Stanley Kubrick cut the interviews from the final edit.)

Next, these robot probes would create huge biotechnology laboratories. The DNA sequences of the probes' creators would have been carefully recorded, and the robots would have been designed to inject this information into incubators, which would then clone the entire species. An advanced civilisation may also code the personalities and memories of its inhabitants and inject this into the clones, enabling the entire race to be reincarnated. Although seemingly fantastic, this scenario is consistent with the known laws of physics and biology, and is within the capabilities of a Type III civilisation. There is nothing in the rules of science to prevent the regeneration of an advanced civilisation from the molecular level. For a dying civilisation trapped in a freezing universe, this may be the last hope.

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