When the Obama administration created the petition system known as We The People, I don’t think they were ever expecting one calling for the construction of a fully operational battle station in space…but they handled it like absolute champs.
How it works is once you create your petition, you must get 150 online signatures within 30 days in order for it to be searchable on the site and once you reach 25,000 online signatures, the White House will send you an official response.
Which is exactly what happened…with hilarious results.
In November of 2012, a petition asking that Obama “secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a “Death Star” by 2016” earned 34,435 signatures (well beyond the requisite 25,000 signatures).
Should not come as a surprise what the White House’s response was…
I know you’re bummed but know that they said “no” in a way that would satisfy any fanboy/fangirl.
In their official response, This Isn’t The Petition You’re Looking For, Paul Shawcross (Chief of the Science and Space Branch for the White House Office of Management and Budget) kindly and humorously let the petitioners and the rest of the world know that while he IS one of us, the Death Star just ain’t happening in this lifetime.
Excerpts from said response include:
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?
Shawcross also used the official petition response as a way to talk about the importance of science and educational opportunities out there for students in a fun (but serious) way.
Noting the latest NASA Mars rover landings and what’s going on in the private sector, Shawcroft pointed out, “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-size International Space Station in orbit around Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations,” and to “keep in mind, space is no longer just government-only. Private American companies, through NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO), are ferrying cargo — and soon, crew — to space for NASA, and are pursuing human missions to the Moon this decade. Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, 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.”
So while we won’t be getting a Death Star anytime soon, there’s still some cool stuff happening in the stars above and as Shawcroft himself says, “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.”
Obama-Wan Kenobi…? Sounds about right.
Humorous response aside, I’m just glad to know someone at the White House is ACTUALLY paying attention…and one of us.
“If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.”
May The Force be with ALL of you, always.
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