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Not in the Business of Blowing Up Planets

White House Death Star petition is a no-go

Petition urging building of Star Wars-style weapon system rejected as ‘administration does not support blowing up planets’

The Death Star as it appeared in The Return of the Jedi. Photograph: Lucasfilm/Ronald Grant Archive


The US government has rejected a petition urging it to build a “Death Star”, claiming it was too expensive, conceptually flawed and did not fit in with the policy of not blowing up planets.

The online petition, created on 14 November 2012, urged the White House “to secure funding and resources, and begin construction on a Death Star by 2016”.

It rationalised that “by focusing our defence 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 defence”.

The petition was signed by 34,400 people. Petitions that gain 25,000 signatures within 30 days automatically trigger a response from the administration. The same service has been used to urge the government to deport the British chatshow host Piers Morgan for his criticism of US gun laws. More than 100,000 signed the Morgan petition but the White House has so far declined to deport him.

Paul Shawcross, the head of the science and space branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, outlined the reasons why the White House was not planning to build a Death Star, an artificial planet used with devastating consequences in the Star Wars films.

He said the estimated cost of $850 quadrillion would not help deficit reduction plans and asked: “Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?”


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