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Open-source Death Star revived on Kickstarter after White House snub

20th Century Fox

Can the open-source community build a fully operational Death Star battle station?

The White House may have turned down the idea of building a real-life Death Star, but now it's the open-source community's turn. A Kickstarter crowd-funding project calls for raising £20 million ($31 million) to design a battle station worthy of Darth Vader. So far, more than £20,000 ($31,000) has been pledged. The funding deadline? April Fool's Day.

The $31 million would go toward fleshing out the project's initial schematic — basically, a round circle — and buying "enough chicken wire to protect reactor exhaust ports." As any "Star Wars" fan knows, those ports were the Achilles' heel of the fictional Death Star, giving Luke Skywalker the opportunity to blow the darn thing up long ago in a galaxy far away.

The stretch goal would be to raise the $850 quadrillion (£543 quadrillion) that would be required for actual construction. A recent estimate claimed that's how much it'd cost just to buy the steel for a Death Star, but that figure has recently come under question. In any case, this project would keep the costs low by using open-source hardware and software.

If the pledges don't amount to £20 million by April 1 (heh, heh), the project will fizzle out — and no one will be obliged to pay up. Makes you wonder how much would have been raised if the goal was $20,000 instead.

The creator of the project describes himself as a resident of Leicestershire in Britain, and he's associated with a website registered to Nick Petkovich. Efforts to contact the project manager weren't immediately successful — but based on the Kickstarter description, he's not planning to roll up his sleeves anytime soon. 

Project risks? "The only risk is the power of the Force." Challenges? "The main challenge is assuring Kickstarter that this is a joke, and not a serious project. As proof, the goal has been set high enough to make successful funding almost impossible."

Hmm. I can think of at least three replies to that:

What's your take? Do feel free to add your comments below. But do, or do not. There is no "try."

More about science-fiction construction projects:


Tip o' the Log to TechCrunch.

Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as NBCNews.com's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.