Last month, the Obama Administration took the time to gently and humorously rebuff a 25,000+ strong internet petition to “build a Death Star”. The tongue-in-cheek petition highlighted the benefits of such an undertaking in terms of boosting job creation and national defence. The Whitehouse made an equally irreverent reply, emphasising that: “The Administration does not support blowing up planets.”
The reply came from Obama’s top space bod, Paul Shawcross, whose rather lengthy full title is: Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget. Shawcross took the opportunity to highlight how space was becoming a priority of the US Government once again. However, they are not about to start commissioning gigantic planet-destroying space stations!
If you thought that a little setback like this would stop the Death Star from becoming a reality though, think again! The project has now moved on from seeking government funding and taken it directly to the people, via a crowdfunding platform called Kickstarter.
If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a site that allows enterprising people to outline the goals of their project – from the sensible to the wild and wacky – and ask for contributions towards their target budget to get that project kick-started. Should they gather enough pledged donations from interested supporters within the allotted fundraising time, the project goes ahead. If not, the project is abandoned and no money changes hands.
With millions of Star Wars fans across the world this should be easy, right? The only slight spanner in the works is that there’s a pretty hefty price tag to negotiate: £543,000,000,000,000,00 (or $850,000,000,000,000,000)! Still, that’s the stretch goal which is required to make the Death Star fully operational (cue maniacal evil laughter). The project starters only need a cool £20,000,000 to start off with, in order to draw up some more detailed plans than what they have at the moment, pictured below:
The project leaders have openly expressed that this isn’t a serious project, stating:
“As proof, the goal has been set high enough to make successful funding almost impossible.”
As if more hints were needed that of the plan’s jokey intent, the allotted funding time frame ends on April 1st.
Despite its entirely flippant nature, the Death Star funding project does highlight the power of internet to bring outlandish ideas to life by providing a place where designers can capture the imagination of untold numbers of users. This in turn fuels technology growth which encourages engineering and IT jobs as well as technological innovation. From erecting a statue of Robocop in Detroit to an armband solar generator for powering your smartphone on the go, Kickstarter and crowdfunding platforms like it make the impossible projects happen by letting ordinary people support them with the touch of a button.