It is clear, Obama does not listen. Despite the pleas of 34,435 dedicated fans to build a Death Star, the heartless, cold, the possibly Dark Lord of the Sith, President Obama’s Chief of the Science and Space Branch, Paul Shawcross, sought to crush the rebellion before it ever began. As he wrote:
This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For
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 House science 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.
Rather than dismissing the fans, the White House used it as an object lesson. Many of the technologies fantasized about by children are now becoming reality. While not a planet-destroying planetoid, we have a space station currently travelling around the earth once every 92 minutes. We now have robotic technology, cybernetic limbs, interstellar space flight, all unimaginable when George Lucas first put pen to paper to draft what he called originally “Adventures Of The Star Killer.”
The Obama administration has taken a new direction for the space program. Having inherited a mess upon taking office, Obama has managed to turn NASA, and the space program of the United States, in bold new directions. Not one of overhyped dreams and impotent ambition, but one of real science, technological growth, and long-term viability. While a Death Star would have been an impressive feat, the more humble goals of the Obama administration are already bearing fruit. The return of astronauts to the moon will be almost a decade sooner than under the previous plan. It is an exciting time to be involved in space sciences.
Next year NASA will be launching the first of the Orion deep space crew capsule on its maiden flight. While not as visibly impressive as the Space Shuttles cancelled by Obama’s predecessor, the Orion will fly to heights never before reached by a manned spacecraft. As he leaves office, the first of the new Space Launch System launch vehicles, a rocket more powerful than any ever before built, shall be readied for its first flight. It is an incredible time for the United States, but more importantly, a huge, bold step forward for all of humankind.
Nathaniel Downes is the son of a former state representative of New Hampshire, now living in Seattle Washington.
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