More than 34,000 signatures on a petition weren’t ignored. But the people who agreed with the call for the White House to “secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016” were probably disappointed by the response.
Among the reasons against it:
- 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?
Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, did point out that other giant space project – the International Space Station.
“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,” Shawcross wrote.
His response took a cheeky approach to the Death Star – the weapons system developed by Darth Vader, a villain in the Star Wars movies. It also included a serious message.
“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,” Shawcross wrote.