On November 14, 2012, a petition was created on the White House’s We the People platform calling for the construction of the Death Star; the well known destroyer of planets in the Star Wars films. After receiving over 30,000 signatures, the White House responded to the petition by turning it down.
With a post titled “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For”, Paul Shawcross explains the problems of constructing a Death Star considering the current issues facing the United States today.
“Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?” Shawcross said.
He cites research done by Lehigh University students that briefly looks into how much it would cost to build the Death Star. They posted the results on the blog, Centives, a economic blog looking at strange, but humorous side of economics.
While the research explains that it would cost $852 quadrillion for one Death Star, they also talk about other issues pertaining to Earth’s limited resources.
“Firstly, the two million death stars is mostly from the Earth’s core which we would all really rather you didn’t remove,” Centives said.
While the cost for one Death Star is drastically expensive, the limited iron would allow for 2 million replicas. However along with the iron deriving from the Earth’s core, they explain that it would take 833,315 years to produce the steel needed for construction.
With such circumstances the government would not be able to build a Death Star in such a short time, let alone blow up Alderaan as the Empire did in Episode IV: A New Hope.
In his defense, Shawcross talks about the space programs that are already in place, using well-known quotes from the films to hook the audience.
“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!” Shawcross said, referring to the International Space Station.
Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his crew’s reaction to the Death Star may not be how we would react to the ISS. Shawcross reminds the public that these small endeavors into space, including the private companies under NASA’s C3PO**, will eventually lead to the future envisioned by Star Wars and other science fiction films.
*URL of hyperlinked text: http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/
**Short for Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office