It's been the making of George Lucas' fortune, but how much would it cost to build your own 1:1 functional Death Star? It turns out that there's some debate as to the exact figures. We reported back in 2009 that the Death Star would cost a whopping $US15,602,022,489,829,821,422,840,226.94. I do like the 94c figure; it shows that somebody's paying attention to every little last line item, including liability insurance. Because you know that, especially for the second Death Star, liability's going to be expensive.
There's some modern scale debate, however, as students at Lehigh University — quoted on the Centives Blog — have priced the Death Star at only $US852,000,000,000,000,000.
Bargain! Sure, it's 13,000 times the world's current GDP, but as the blog points out, you could always take out the loan and then default in an explosive manner. You know. If you were, say, evil, or something.
Perhaps that first, much bigger figure is taking into account government waste; after all, you know there will be plenty of waste on a project like this.
Still, the figures are still a bit off. There's a three main problems across both sets of calculations. Firstly, the bigger 2009 figure uses commodity prices from 2009; while I don't spend my free time checking the price of every commodity, these will have undoubtedly changed since then. Plus, the whole saga was set 'a long long time ago', muddying the commodity prices figure further.
However, the second figure's not out of trouble yet either, because it only works on calculating the size of the diameter, assuming it's being made of steel and then multiplying that out from the cost of the steel itself. Which means you'd be left with an entirely steel Death Star. Steel doors, walls and perhaps even toilets might not seem so bad, but steel display screens? Steel processors? Steel teddy bears in the Death Star daycare centre? It just wouldn't work.
That naturally brings up the third problem, what with the whole thing not existing, but I'm not sure if I should bring that one up. Someone's bound to accuse me of being slightly too literal. [Centives via EFTM]