WASHINGTON A "Death Star" won't be a part of the U.S. military's arsenal any time soon.
More than 34,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the Obama administration to build the "Star Wars"-inspired super-weapon to spur job growth and bolster national defense.
Obliged to respond to citizen petitions - no matter how tongue-in-cheek - that surpass 25,000 signatures, Paul Shawcross, an administration adviser on science and space, posted on the White House website Friday that such a project is too costly and doomed to failure.
He said a Death Star would cost an estimated $850 quadrillion to build, at a time when the White House is working to reduce the federal budget.
Besides, Shawcross says, the Obama administration "does not support blowing up planets."
Shawcross also questioned the feasibility of the project. "Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?"
- This isn't the petition response you're looking for (whitehouse.gov)
The U.S., Shawcross points out, is already involved in several out-of-this-world projects, including the International Space Station, which is currently orbiting Earth with a half-dozen astronauts, and he encouraged young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering or math-related fields.
"We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it," he said.