Blast it Wedge, We’re Not Getting a Death Star

by Nancy Atkinson on January 14, 2013

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter

The Death Star in Star Wars. Credit: Lucasfilm.

The Death Star in Star Wars. Credit: Lucasfilm.

Well, it’s official. The Obama Administration has said no to a petition asking the US government to build a Death Star. On the “We the People” petition site, if a petition gets 25,000 people to sign, the Obama administration has promised to reply. There have been some really crazy petitions put forth – one person wanted to be named emperor, another wanted a statue built – but there have been some creative and meaningful petitions as well. Then there’s the petition to “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.” Creative… yes. Meaningful? Probably not, but it certainly got a lot of attention.

And Paul Shawcross, the Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, who replied to this petition, did right by Star Wars and sci-fi fans, and in an imaginative and inspiring way.

Titled “This isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For,” Shawcross’s response said the real reasons we won’t get a Death Star is because:
1. 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.
2. The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
3. Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

He outlined how we already have a space station, a laser-wielding robot on Mars, and are discovering hundreds of new planets orbiting other stars.

“We are living in the future! Enjoy it,” Shawcross wrote. “Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field…. 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.”

There’s still time to sign the petition for looking into building a working version of the Starship Enterprise; right not that petition has just over 6,000 signatures.

Late addition:

Via StarWars.com comes the news that evil Empire has posted a response to the White House’s decision not to build a Death Star:

IMPERIAL CENTER, CORUSCANT – The overwhelming military superiority of the Galactic Empire has been confirmed once again by the recent announcement by the President of the United States that his nation would not attempt to build a Death Star, despite the bellicose demands of the people of his tiny, aggressive planet. “It is doubtless that such a technological terror in the hands of so primitive a world would be used to upset the peace and sanctity of the citizens of the Galactic Empire,” said Governor Wilhuff Tarkin of the Outer Rim Territories. “Such destructive power can only be wielded to protect and defend by so enlightened a leader as Emperor Palpatine.”
Representatives on behalf of the nation-state leader from the unimaginatively named planet refused to acknowledge the obvious cowardice of their choice, preferring instead to attribute the decision to fiscal responsibility. “The costs of construction they cited were ridiculously overestimated, though I suppose we must keep in mind that this miniscule planet does not have our massive means of production,” added Admiral Conan Motti of the Imperial Starfleet.

Emissaries of the Emperor also caution any seditious elements within the Galactic Senate not to believe Earth’s exaggerated claims of there being a weakness in the Death Star design. “Any attacks made upon such a station – should one ever be built – would be a useless gesture,” added Motti.

This article was updated on January 15, 2013.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Simon Donaldson January 15, 2013 at 11:14 AM

I doubt there’s enough metal on earth to create the Death Star, or even a quarter of it.

That said, maybe one day – in the far, far future, colonial cities aboard space-stations (Similar, but more more pretty than the Death Star) will be the norm. Not in our lifetimes, but, without a doubt, it’s something that I’d love to see

newSteveZodiac January 15, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Metal? Get with it Grandad ;)

Simon Donaldson January 16, 2013 at 2:13 AM

The Death Star wouldn’t be constructed out of a singular element. Metal is the correct term as it governs a wide-spectrum of metal-class elements / alloys that it would, without a doubt, mainly consist of.

What do I need to ‘get with’?
I’m not trying to start a troll-like argument here, but I honestly have no idea what you’re implying :)

newSteveZodiac January 18, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Metallic elements such as Fe Al Mg Ca Ti, W etc. and their alloys aren’t strong enough to maintain the structure of a 160km diameter spherical structure against its own mass – unless you meant metals in the astronomical sense i.e. everything not H or He. in which case there is enough on Earth. I was implying (in jest, hence the wink) that your thinking was a teensy bit old fashioned, given the plethora of stronger and lighter composites and meta materials now available, sorry for any offence caused.

lcrowell January 15, 2013 at 2:44 PM

When I saw this I thought it was for a much scaled down version of the death star, say something about the size of the ISS. Even that would be rather pointless.

It is interesting with the Star Wars space opera/mythology that the United States has assumed almost more of the imperial role.

LC

lcrowell January 15, 2013 at 3:30 PM

If you want to sign a technology oriented petition I suggest signing the petition to conserve US thorium stocks with the interest in promoting thorium nuclear power

http://thoriumremix.us4.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=d1c8d54c38ff50b9762e5c8b8&id=82538c9dff&e=f65dd05b24

The thorium breeder cycle from thorium to U233, and the fission of the uranium in a molten salt reactor is much safer and it does not have the risk of meltdown as with the current U to Pu system we have. The current nuclear system we have is really a spin off of nuclear weapons programs, but it is fraught with problems. Thorium nuclear power is far less risky and it produces far less in the way of nuclear waste.

LC

Torbjörn Larsson January 15, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Or you could just petition on breeders, the equally safe gen4 U/Pu systems et cetera.

“from the utilities’ point of view, the only legitimate driver capable of motivating pursuit of thorium is economics.” [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium-based_nuclear_power ]

Everything else alike, thorium should be many decades from utility. The same utility of U/Pu systems are already in place, or could be implemented in a decade.

lcrowell January 16, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Unfortunately I am not a nuclear engineer. From what I understand though U/Pu breeders have a narrow range of stability.

LC

Patrick Scheible January 15, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Can we maybe build the Discovery from 2001 A Space Odyssey instead? I really don’t feel the need to blow up planets.

Tom Litton January 16, 2013 at 3:44 PM

How about a dyson’s sphere?

Tim Amato January 16, 2013 at 12:38 AM

We would want to destroy the death star. Why would we create it. Besides it would be easier to retrofit our Moon to destroy the Earth.

Tom Litton January 16, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Earth? I thought we were going to destroy Pluto to settle the argument once and for all.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: