Science & Reality Today: December 22, 2016: A blueprint for building a Death Star — Right!…

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A blueprint for building a Death Star — Right!...

After seeing “Rogue One,” my imagination ran wild. I started researching what it would take to build a Death Star. 

As a disclaimer, I am more of a Star Trek fan than a Star Wars fan; so if you disagree with anything you are about to read, please don’t use the “Force” against me.

Based on my research, the first Death Star in the Star Wars series was about 120 kilometers (about 75 miles) wide and the second was 160 km (almost 100 miles) wide. I will average ours out to 140 km wide which comes out to a little less than 1/20th the size of Earth’s moon.

Keep in mind that the largest space station we have ever built is only 100 meters (about 325 feet) across by 40 meters high.

Okay, so what material would this Death Star be made of? Right now there is revolutionary research being conducted on graphene and its possible applications; but, to keep it consistent with the original idea, let’s make our Death Star out of steel. 

Since we have to protect it from attacks, let’s play it safe and make it 20 cm (or 8 inches) thick. Being that it’s 140 km wide, we would need about 60 billion cubic meters of steel, which comes out to approximately 20,000 times the size of The Great Pyramid of Giza (just for the outer shell). 

We also have to consider how much steel we need for floors, walls, rooms, equipment inside plus the fact the 2015 world production of steel (crude) was only 1.6 billion tons, which would mean we would need several decades just to come up with enough to build the outer shell. 

We also haven’t even taken into account the cost. As of December 2016, the cost of steel is $300 per ton which would make the price tag $150 trillion — twice the cost of all the goods and services sold globally per year. 

I won’t even bring up the cost of maintenance or whatever energy source is needed to rotate it into position. But what really makes a Death Star is its power to destroy planets using the super-laser.

The strongest laser we have at the moment on Earth produces 10 to the power of 15 joules of energy. Scientists have estimated that to blow up a planet the size of Earth using a laser would be 10 to the power of 32 joules of energy. That’s 10 with 32 zeros after it. 

This is the same energy that our Sun produces in an average week. 

To put it into perspective, if you pointed the strongest laser we currently have at an earth-sized planet, we would need to point it non-stop for 3 billion years (give or take a few million years) in order to get the desired effect.

Didn’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble (including those hired to work in the incoming administration’s Department of Defense) but go see the movie regardless. At least you will get to see Darth Vader being Darth Vader even if you have to wait ’til the final scene.

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