Despite an online petition filed by hopeful Star Wars fans, the White House has refused to build a Death Star citing all sorts of very good reasons, one of which was an estimated 850 quadrillion dollar cost. According to Rand Simberg, they’ve got it all wrong.
The original estimate was based on essentially creating an enormous battleship in space which is a flawed premise since the Death Star doesn’t float, it orbits. Something like the ISS would be a much better starting point. They also built the whole thing out of steel, like a battleship, but Simberg says this doesn’t make sense either.
A real Death Star would likely be made of carbon fiber, aluminum and composites with just a steel shell. Taking into account current market prices, the steel needed to construct the Death Star would cost just half a quadrillion dollars. He also notes that much of the material required to build the Death Star could be mined from asteroids for far less than what it would cost to use current Earth resources.
Simberg admits that to build the behemoth would require resources that we don’t currently have available since we’ve yet to mine asteroids and set up colonies in space, but he says not to write-off the idea forever. President Barack Obama is only the 44th President of the United States. Maybe by the time we get to the 144th our technology will catch up and our ancestors will look to the heavens to gaze upon the ultimate power in the universe.