the moon-sized superweapon appearing in the George Lucas films.
On the "We the People" petition website, creator John D claimed that "By focusing our defense 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 defense."
Apparently 34,435 people agreed that the ultimate weapon for the Empire has a place in White House space plans. According to the website's policy, the administration is required to respond to any petitions that garner 25,000 signatures in less than 30 days.
"The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon," wrote Paul Shawcross, chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House's Office of Management and Budget — with tongue firmly in cheek, we hope.
Shawcross cited two reasons for why the Death Star isn't a remote possibility: The price tag on such an undertaking is $850 quadrillion, which would greatly expand the deficit, which is already serious. Secondly, as he bluntly stated, "The Administration does not support blowing up planets."
And of course, there's the fact that Luke Skywalker destroyed the first Death Star with a single X-wing fighter.
"Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that could be exploited by a one-man starship?" Shawcross asked.
Space.com reports that last year, astronomers with the agency's planet-hunting Kepler space telescope also announced that they found a real-life version of Tatooine, Luke's home planet with two suns. NASA also plans to send astronauts where no one has gone before — an asteroid — by 2025, and then take aim a manned trip to Mars in the 2030s.
Shawcross also urged the public to go outside at night and look up.
"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 wrote. "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."
He instead described why the U.S. is living in the future, encouraging petitioners to embrace why "the Force" is, in fact, with us.
"We don't have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke's arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers."
Last month, an engineer writing as BTE Dan launched a petition to build a real-life Starship Enterprise from the "Star Trek" TV series. So far, 19,234 have signed the petition, so it still has a shot at a response.
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