For Entertainment Purposes Only: Calculating the Cost of a Death Star
By Perry Michael Simon on February 21, 2012
You may have asked yourself at some point in your life how much it would cost to build a Death Star today. And then you’d think, well, that’s kind of a stupid question, and you’d move on to thinking about more productive matters, like sex and food and Downton Abbey. But some students at Lehigh University (home to the training camp of Your Own Philadelphia Eagles!) are not like you, and they went ahead and tried to calculate what building a new Death Star would cost.
The results are at the students’ Centives economics blog, and they started by figuring that we’re talking 140 km in diameter and made of steel, which, using a rough calculation based on the steel used in warships, means they’d need 1.08×1015 tons of steel, which they then determined COULD be obtained from the Earth’s iron supply.
But — and these are big buts (huh huh) — you’d have to take most of the iron from the Earth’s core, which isn’t really a good idea even if you could do it. And it would take, at present production rates, 833,315 years to produce enough steel to start construction. Of course, in a few hundred thousand years, you can assume technological advances that might make more of it feasible, but right now, that’s how long they estimate it would take. And that’s before you get the bill for the steel. Okay, then, how much would the steel cost, based on 2012 prices?
$852,000,000,000,000,000. Give or take. That would be about 13,000 times the GDP of Earth. And that’s before considering manpower, and construction facilities, the cost and possibility of getting the steel up there, and other reality.
Put it on American Express. They say they have no credit limit, right?
But wait. “Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away….” Long ago? Well, then, the Death Stars we’ve seen were built and destroyed a long time ago… but surely somebody built Death Stars AFTER the saga that might not have been destroyed and might still be floating around in that far away galaxy, so maybe we can buy one used, right? Yes, that makes sense! After all, the price drops like a rock the moment you drive the thing off the lot.
Check Craigslist. Or maybe there’s a Palpatine Worthington’s Used Death Star Lot someplace.
(Commence the “well, actually” stuff in the comments below)
HT: Headline News