Death Stars and Taxes

At the White House Petitions page there have been any number of jokey petitions. One particular one requested that the American government “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016″. It’s received over 35,000 signatures, which may just be James McGrath under 35k aliases.

The administration response just about justifies the whole ridiculous enterprise:

This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For

By Paul Shawcross [the Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget]

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:

  • 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?

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! 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. 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.

It goes on, explaining what our limited space program has already accomplished. It’s really a great response.


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