As much as my country is run like the Empire, I still can’t see this happening, but here it is folks. According to the Telegraph UK an online petition has successfully garnered enough signatures to be put in front of the president. What is that petition for and why should you care? The petition is to lobby the American government to build it’s very own Death Star. That’s right boys and girls, enough of my countrymen have requested we build our own Death Star to where the president at least has to take a look at the request. To my friends and readers across the pond, please do not judge my whole country based on this fact, instead judge it by the horrors committed in our names at home and abroad (End political rant here.).
According to the petition the American government is to get funding and resources to begin construction on the Death Star by 2016. Wait people, it gets better. The petition was started by Colorado man named simply John D., who says “By focusing our resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense.” No one I know is a bigger fan of Star Wars then me as shown by both pairs of Star Wars pajamas, the assorted coffee mugs and glasses, wristbands, t-shirts, comics, Blu-Ray set, various clothes I have for my 16 month old son, action figures and large collection of Expanded Universe novels I own, but I also tend to deal in reality, and the reality is that this type of space program just isn’t feasible.
Economic students at a Pennsylvania university have stated that the cost of steel alone for a Death Star would come up to roughly £541,261 trillion just for the steel alone, or, because I had to look it up since I have never been to the UK and suck at math, $703.6 trillion. That’s right, not including labor, transportation, developing a system to work safely in space on a project this big, as well as everything that makes the station function, it would cost $703 trillion, or roughly 44 times our national deficit. Yeah, that sounds like smart money to me. One would also wonder why our country would need a space station capable of obliterating whole planets, but hey, who am I to judge.
Now here’s the real kicker, any petition that accumulates at least 25,000 signatures has to be put up for the president and his staff to check out. This particular petition has already garnered 27,000. Yeah, I know, that’s 27,000 Americans who think this is a grand idea. I’ve shaken my head on this one until my neck was sore. However, with all the ills going on in the world I’m sure the one thing our president could use is a good laugh, so hey, at least he may get one after reading the petition.
Well, the petition made it’s way to the president’s council and the answer, in short, was a big hell no. The long version? Well that was answered by Paul Shawcross, the Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget. In a Star Wars laced reply he had this to say:
The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:
- The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
- The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
- Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?
However, look carefully (here’s how) and you’ll notice something already floating in the sky — that’s no Moon, it’s a Space Station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations. The Space Station has six astronauts — American, Russian, and Canadian — living in it right now, conducting research, learning how to live and work in space over long periods of time, routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers, etc. We’ve also got two robot science labs — one wielding a laser — roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.
Keep in mind, space is no longer just government-only. Private American companies, through NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO), are ferrying cargo — and soon, crew — to space for NASA, and are pursuing human missions to the Moon this decade.
Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.
We don’t have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke’s arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.
We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White House science fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country’s future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.
If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.
WOW, $850 quadrillion! Even using a calculator to figure this out would make my head hurt. It also seems aside from being a super science adviser, Paul Shawcross is one cool guy.
Follow Christopher on Twitter @AUDone44 and The Nerd @nerdfollowing