White House responds to Death Star petition

Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, responded to an earlier petition to ““secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.″

The petition had reached the 25,000 necessary signatures to trigger a response from the administration as part of its We the People initiative to provide greater communication between the government and the public. Petitions have been wide-ranging, including secessionist movements, advocacy for stricter gun laws and a recent petition to prohibit Jack Lew from altering his signature if confirmed as the next Treasury secretary.

Shawcross’ response reads, in part:

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?

But even though a Death Star isn’t in the cards, Shawcross took the opportunity to point out some pretty cool stuff that we are doing in space: the International Space Station, NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO) and the Mars Curiosity Rover, among other things. Here’s the entire response from the White House  It’s priceless:

OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE RESPONSE TOSecure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.

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

By Paul Shawcross

death starThe 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.

Keep in mind, space is no longer just government-only. Private American companies, throughNASA’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. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systemsand building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.

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.

We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White Housescience fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country’s future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.

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.

Paul Shawcross is Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget

May the Force be with you.


Jon Green is a graduate of Kenyon College with a degree in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. A veteran of the campaigns of Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and President Obama in 2012, he writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @JonGreen8, and on Google+. .

Share This Post

  • rmthunter

    But. . . but . . . Constitution! 2nd Amendment! Patriots! Every citizen has a right to the Death Star!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Ooh that’s cool!

  • arcadesproject

    thank you for opportunity to sign this petition.

  • arcadesproject

    Just wait a minute before you shit can the death star, Shawcross. If you could extract all the rich and powerful people and Cass Sunstein, and leave behind the olds, the poors, the too youngs, the not rationals, the rebelious, the truth freaks and lots of others, wouldn’t you like to blow up the planet and be rid of us once and for all?

  • Snaggletooth

    I know this is suppose to be funny, but right now there’s a serious petition that needs your signatures. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/remove-united-states-district-attorney-carmen-ortiz-office-overreach-case-aaron-swartz/RQNrG1Ck

    Aaron Swartz was an information activist who just took his own life. He faced decades in prison for downloading academic articles at MIT. He helped develop the RSS standard and was an early member of the team that created reddit.

    Read more about it here: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/01/internet-pioneer-and-information-activist-takes-his-own-life/

  • S1AMER

    A little levity in due season … how sweet it is.

  • Outspoken1

    You can enter your location at this website http://www.pbs.org/spacestation/seedo/locator.htm and find out what time the Intl Space Station will be passing overhead so you may see it. It is visible with the naked eye!

  • Naja pallida

    Obviously he needed a posse.

  • http://www.facebook.com/travis.laird Travis Lai

    Very Cool…

  • nicho

    YouTube gun nut found shot to death. To bad he didn’t have a gun to defend himself — oh, wait a minute, he was surrounded by guns — except the one that shot him. Maybe he needed more guns.

    http://kottke.org/13/01/youtube-gun-nut-shot-dead

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