He hasn’t even been inaugurated into his second term but President Obama has just made the first mistake of his second term in office, by refusing to build a fully operational Death Star.
Never mind, as Paul Shawcross, the Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, who officially declined to build the station, points out that the cost of creating the battle station would stand at $850,000,000,000,000,000; or that the Obama Administration doesn’t support blowing up planets; or that the Death Star contains “a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship,” surely they know it’d be several levels of awesome to have one.
Shawcross made the points (in an amazingly nerdy response which was headlined, “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For”) in response to a public petition published on the White House’s “We the People” site, which asked the US government to “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.” That petition collected 34,435 since being published on the site on November 14, 2012.
The original petition originally requested that one Death Star be created to spur job creation and bolster US national defense.
“By focusing our defense 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.”
But it’s not all bad news, Shawcross does point out how far we’ve come in space exploration. He cites the International Space Station (which includes a floating robot), the soon-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope, which will replace Hubble, and the Curiosity Rover on Mars.
“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.”
Of course there are other reasons for not developing a Death Star, the first of which is the length of time it would take to extract the required amount of materials to build one. According to the same research that Shawcross cites it would take 833,315 years to produce enough steel to develop the Moon-sized space station.
Not to mention the cost of the potential lawsuit from Disney/Lucasfilm for copyright infringement.
If you have a bad feeling about this, then don’t worry; all this doesn’t mean that you can’t build your own Death Star – for a mere $399.99 you can have your very own one, just made of plastic bricks…although it’ll be a little bit smaller than a real one.
The other option is to travel to Saturn’s Moon Mimas, which looks an awful lot like the battle station.