There is an underrated and under analysed moment in the 1983 classic Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Darth Vader boards the second unfinished Death Star and is less than impressed with how the progress is going. But fear not, Vader is confident he can put the project back on schedule.
Although Vader’s credentials as an evil space wizard are well known we aren’t given any specifics on his project management background. Despite this he evidently succeeds in ‘motivating’ the already stretched workforce to completing the project on time and (presumably) under budget. When I think of this scene I like to imagine Vader retiring to an onsite prefab, pouring over spreadsheets and programme schedules to identify and rectify inefficiencies. What is more likely is that he skulks around breathing heavily and bullying workers into doubling their output.
You may be querying the relevance of this discussion in a blog about construction law, but in my defence the problems associated with building a fully operational orbiting killing machine maybe closer than we think.
In 2012 a petition emerged on We the People (a direct line from the White House to the real issues people are concerned with) titled ‘Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.’ This petition amassed 34,435 signatures.
The White House responded, stating that they would not pursue the project because:
- 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?
Admittedly these are valid reasons to drop the project, but the idea was given a new hope with NASA recently offering a practical solution. Apparently all you need to do is grab hold of an asteroid hurtling through space and mine it for the materials you need. Imagine the cost savings!
It is clear that soon our technology will be ready, but the final conceptual hurdle is that many will have a bad feeling about a planet destroying orb floating around.