An American Death Star? The Obama Administration (Humorously) Declines
The Obama administration has undertaken a noble, entirely online effort to hear from the American people about tasks they want the federal government to undertake. It’s called We the People, and it’s generated some serious, important and worthwhile conversations about new, could-be federal initiatives.
Basically, it’s an online petition drive, and if a petition gains enough traction, someone from the government responds. Perhaps the most amazing petition can be found here. Its title? “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.” As of the time of publishing this story, it has garnered nearly 35,000 signatures.
In response to the petition, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch of the White House Office of Management and Budget, penned an incredible, Star Wars reference-laden letter as to why the American government cannot, unfortunately, build its own Death Star.
Entitled “This isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For,” Shawcross quotes an estimate that a Death Star would cost around $850,000,000,000,000,000 to build (that’s 850 quadrillion dollars, or some 53,000 times more than the current national debt of the United States). Additionally, Shawcross states that “The Administration does not support blowing up planets,” coupled with perhaps his best response: “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 note that the International Space Station is already in orbit, that private enterprises are attempting their own space voyages (to locales such as the moon), and more. “Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs,” he states, “we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.”
You can real the full response here.
You’ve gotta give it to Shawcross and the Obama White House. They certainly have a great sense of humor.
Colin Moriarty is an IGN PlayStation editor. You can follow him on Twitter and IGN and learn just how sad the life of a New York Islanders and New York Jets fan can be.