WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) -- The Obama administration will not be starting a new "Star Wars" defense initiative.
The administration responded late last week to an online petition signed by more than 34,000 people. The petition did not call for resumption of the "Star Wars" Strategic Defense Initiative involving nuclear ballistic missiles that began under President Ronald Reagan, but for a far more literal "Star Wars" plan, involving the construction of a "Death Star."
The petition said the "Death Star" would spur job growth and bolster national defense. But Obama administration adviser on science and space Paul Shawcross responded to the petition with an answer rendered as comically as the idea itself.
"The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon," Shawcross wrote. "Here are a few reasons:
• The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000 (850 quadrillon.) 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?"
Shawcross went on to note that the U.S. is involved in numerous projects involving space exploration already.
The petition response noted that "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."
Furthermore, Shawcross noted, the nation has "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."
The response urged those who came up with the "Death Star" idea to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics-related fields, and noted President Barack Obama's strong support of such domains.
The response also casually reminded the petitioners that the Death Star was, in fact, an initiative completed by the Galactic Empire – the villains of the "Star Wars" universe.
"If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us!" Shawcross wrote. "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."
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