On Nov. 14, 2012 a petition was created on We The People calling for the U.S. Government to “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016”. The petition claimed that doing so would spur job creation and strengthen our national defense. The petition received 34,435 signatures. At the time of petition the threshold for a response by the White House was 25,000. As of January 15, 2013 the threshold has changed to 100,000 signatures. The response to the petition came from Paul Shawcross Chief of Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget. The response, from the title to the last sentence, has references to and at least one quote from Star Wars.
Here is the list of references to the movies found in the reply:
- “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For”. The actual quote by Obi Wan in Episode 4 is “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
- The fundamental flaw to the original death star in Episode 4 was a one man star ship.
- The death star blew up the planet Alderaan in Episode 4.
- In Episode 4 Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewbacca hid in an onboard garbage masher.
- R2D2 had a small laser he could use and did so in Episode 6.
- Spacecrafts were common in the Star Wars universe, and spacecraft were welcomed at various cities and ports.
- NASA has a Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office that has the acronym C3PO. C3PO was the name of the one droid in all 6 of the Star Wars movies.
- Kessel Run in 12 parsecs was mentioned in Episode 4 when Han Solo explains that the Millennium Falcon is fast enough to avoid the Imperial ships in orbit.
- Probes were used by the Empire to track down and locate the rebel forces in Episode 5.
- Floating Robot Assistants and droids. In the Star Wars universe there were a multitude of robots that did various tasks.
- Light Sabers were Jedi weapons.
- In Episode 5 the rebels used an “Ion Cannon” to help the ships escape the blockade of Imperial ships. In the response it refers to the “advanced marshmallow cannon” the President fired during the White House Science Fair.
- Lukes Arm is in reference to Episode 5 when his hand was cut off and replaced by a robotic one.
- Imperial Walkers were the giant vehicles used by the Empire in Episode 5 and 6.
- The Force is the religion practiced by the Jedi Knights.
- In the response it states, “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.” The actual statement made by Darth Vader in Episode 4 was, “Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.”
The full response to the petition can be found below:
OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE RESPONSE TO Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.
By Paul Shawcross
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.
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. 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.
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
Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016 (https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/secure-resources-and-funding-and-begin-construction-death-star-2016/wlfKzFkN)
Terms of Participation (https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/how-why/terms-participation)
This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For (https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/secure-resources-and-funding-and-begin-construction-death-star-2016/wlfKzFkN)