This isn't the petition response you're looking for, writes the White House.
Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the Obama administration, has written an excellent response to a call supported by over 34,000 Americans for the United States to begin construction of a Death Star by the year 2016.
The petition originally claimed that building a DS-1 Orbital Battle Station capable of annihilating rebel planets and instilling fear across the entire galaxy would "spur job creation in the form of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense." Arguments for the Death Star were varied and include the creation of 1.7 million jobs and the complete and permanent destruction of the Jedi. Unfortunately, the administration has shot down the proposal. Here's the reasons cited by Shawcross:
— 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?
Bad news for Star Wars fans – but as Shawcross notes, we already have a football field-sized International Space Station in orbit with a full-time crew consisting of six American, Canadian, and Russian astronauts, conducting research and "routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers" (which have a tendency to get infested with strange alien life forms). We also have two robotic labs floating around Mars, including one with a laser. No interrogation droids yet, but we do have floating drones on the Space Station which look eerily similar to the flying robot Luke Skywalker used to hone his light saber abilities.
Shawcross explains that private companies working with NASA are performing support roles such as ferrying crew and equipment, as well as seeking methods to land the first private manned spacecraft on the moon. While we won't get our battle station, we do already have a science-friendly administration that has sponsored White House science fairs and building creepy robots at DARPA, including something that looks an awful lot like the alpha stage of an AT-AT walker.
So no Death Star. Disappointing – but as the White House says, "the Death Star's power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force."
Wait, I thought we were the evil empire!