13.7: Cosmos And Culture
7:51 pm
Sun January 13, 2013

White House Says No To Death Star

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 12:52 pm

In a shocking slap to the face of Star Wars fans (and admirals of Imperial Flagships) everywhere, the White House has rejected a petition asking for the United States to build a Death Star by 2016.

Titled "This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For", WH technology advisor Paul Shawcross gives what I think are pretty shallow reasons for not building a planet-crushing artificial moon:

  • 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?

Shawcross goes on to explain that, while the administration won't be building a Death Star, we do have some pretty cool things going on in space right now.

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.

Oh, all right.


You can keep up with more of what Adam Frank is thinking on Facebook and on Twitter: @AdamFrank4

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.