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White House officially responds to "build a Death Star" petition


January 12, 2013

A real Death Star is now unlikely to form part of a national or global defense initiative in the near future (Still: Lucasfilm/20th Century Fox)

A real Death Star is now unlikely to form part of a national or global defense initiative in the near future (Still: Lucasfilm/20th Century Fox)

The White House has officially responded to a petition calling on the US government to "begin a construction of a Death Star by 2016." Though the news for proponents of space fascism wasn't good, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, did respond in the spirit of the original petition…

Death Stars are fictional moon-sized space stations with the destructive firepower to destroy entire planets, appearing in the original 1977 space-fantasy film Star Wars and its second sequel, Return of the Jedi. (What? Someone out there might not know.)

The original petition, created last November, called for the creation of a Death Star to create jobs and enhance national defense. The petition received 34,435 people, significantly more than the 25,000 required within a 30-day period to prompt a government response.

However, Shawcross points out numerous flaws in the plan, including their weakness to small, one-man starfighters and an estimated cost of $850,000,000,000,000,000. In any case, the Administration "does not support blowing up planets," Shawcross said.

Shawcross goes on to point out that, in the International Space Station, Earth already has a space station of its own, is presently exploring Mars, and is supporting the development of a DEKA prosthesis, dubbed Luke after the Jedi who had a robot hand surgically attached after Darth Vader lopped off the fleshy original.

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

His response is well worth reading in full.

Source: petitions.whitehouse.gov

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

Apart from creating jobs, what use is a death star? Hold the earth to ransom perhaps, and who would like to do this? The most strategic first step is to sell the idea to earthlings and get their active support in exchange for a quick buck. 34,435 Suckers and counting!


Is this for real? I pray that this is a hack because the thought of it being a for-real proposal is way beyond my comprehension.

Victor Albright

At least I hope the government will realize the real interest in space and not weaken the program any more. The current objective to visit an asteroid has very limited inspiration. To build a base on the moon is far more inspiring and doable.

Michael Erickson

We're a weird bunch. We complain about the weak economy but we want a Death Star!

Nicolas Zart

"not blowing up the planet!" really ??????

Michiel Mitchell

While I think the Death Star idea is idiotic, I would love to see a massive traveling space station holding thousands of people. An entire culture could live aboard while heading to the nearest expected habitable planet.

However, it should be cylindrical, rather than spherical, to create proper artificial gravity using centrifugal force (with a different rotation speed at each level to keep it at the same g force on each level).

Dave Andrews

to: threesixty

"Hold the earth to ransom..." Shhhh. Not so loud! If the idea gets out, there'll be a bunch of guys in Mali and Algeria who will try to buy one. Better than a Toyota pickup !


Like Dave says, a living star would be ideal. But "a massive traveling space station holding thousands of people" is difficult/costly. However, toursim could be done.


While a death star is ridiculous, a orbital space station with a launch pad with 5-10 nuclear rockets with warheads is not. Built to a size of say a kilometer across (in final version), cylindrical and a few kilometer in length would provide a good living area, hydroponics, waste conversion, air scrubbing, propulsion, as well as laboratories/small scale factories. The project would of course have to be international in design, manufacture, and manning. I would guess at least 50-100 years for construction. Why 5-10 nukes? Not for aiming at the earth, while they could cause significant harm especially from the EMP (which the station would potentially be even more vulnerable to), but rather for deep space threats like asteroids, meteors, and comets. Limiting the arsenal ensures no great threat to earthbound communities and governments.

It could also be a staging area for stellar exploration, with rockets built on site, or for a way station for lunar colonies. Vehicles, lunar and earth, need only reach the station for refuel allowing smaller rockets with more payload dedicated to cargo/supplies.

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