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How much would a Death Star cost?

  • Heavy metal: Amount of steel alone would be astronomical
  • Hard labor: It would take 833,315 years
How much would a Death Star cost?

Proving that politicians aren't the only ones that can shoot for the moon, economics students at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania have tabulated the cost of the Death Star. Right, right, just go with it.

Now, I don’t know what makes us more nervous, the Mayan 2012 thing, or the fact that students have actually put time and energy into finding out what it would take to hang a humongous planet-destroying orb in the sky, but the force -- whatever they call it on the streets around there -- is strong with this one.

On the students’ economics site,, a blog post estimates the size of Darth Vader’s spherical death factory to be 140 km in diameter (87 miles). That’s about the size of Baltimore, the home of another famous George Lucas.

There are several logistical problems relating to raw materials: You’re going to need a serious celestial scrap yard. Using a modern warship as a reference, the students counted up the estimated amount of steel: “Scaling up to the Death Star, this is about 1.08x1015 tons of steel. 1 with fifteen zeros,” the blog said.

Read more: Crowdsourced 'Star Wars' is a viral Force

There's also the unknown state of manufacturing jobs in the world. At today’s rate of steel production it would take 833,315 years to produce. To put it another way, we're going to need a lot of drones. Not to mention transporting all that metal from the Earth.

“Oh, and the cost of the steel alone? At 2012 prices, about $852,000,000,000,000,000. Or roughly 13,000 times the world's GDP.*” the blog said.

Of course, who knows what technology awaits us in a millennia or two? Or the mind-blowing information we will discover (Luke, I'm your fodder)?

If mankind -- or some alien race -- wants to try to build a Death Star one day, in the words of our favorite puppy-eared Jedi: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

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