It takes 25,000 electronic signatures on a petition at WhiteHouse.gov’s We the People portal to get an official governmental response on whatever issue to which the petition calls attention. So far, 34,000 signatures have lent their names to an effort for the government to design, build and set into motion an actual Death Star. Since the government had to respond, it titled its response, “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For,” written by Paul Shawcross, Obama’s chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, who apparently drew the shortest straw.
Reducing the Deficit
The administration divided its opposition to such an idea into three main reasons: Since Obama is hard at work “to reduce the deficit, not expand it,” Shawcross said the estimated cost of $850,000,000,000,000,000 would be far from cost-effective. He also mentioned how the Obama administration was strictly opposed to blowing up other planets, particularly our own. His third reason was raised by a question that only a Star Wars fan would take to heart: “Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?”
International Space Station
Instead of divining an imaginary Death Star with countless faults, Shawcross pointed to the International Space Station, that’s already the size of a football field and has American, Canadian and Russian astronauts working tirelessly alongside robotic helpers to learn how human civilization can survive in space for prolonged periods. To get a closer look, Shawcross advises a look-see here, or to start thinking about two robotic craft roving Mars right now, one with laser-capability.
Shawcross also points to private enterprise delving into the space realm and even planning this decadeexcursions to and from the moon. In the governmental realm, NASA currently has two rockets exploring the outer reaches of the solar system, while in development is a star probe to mine the outer layers of our main star, the sun.
So relax, people of Earth, Shawcross advises. There’s lots to be thankful for: “We don’t have a Death Star,” he states, “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.”
What’s important now is for as many Americans as possible to devote their educations to careers in math, engineering, science and technology so that, in the future, “the Force will be with us!” Otherwise, we won’t have the means to build a space probe, much less a Death Star.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Derek is a writer of KS Construction Group.