As it stands, the Earth and by extension the US has its pants down by its knees with regard to regarding intergalactic defence. The US government currently lacks any significant interstellar combat capabilities, moreover the government lacks any source of deterrence from interstellar attacks. This constitutes an enormous security hole which leaves the US populace, and indeed the entire global populace suspect to extinction via. extraterrestial invasion. Professor Stephen Hawking affirms:
“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans. … We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet.”
The situation in recent years has vastly changed over what it was 100 years ago. Only 50 years ago were the first semiotic radio waves sent which are now propagating space at the speed of light. Clearly *ANY* highly advanced alien civilization that receives these signals will very quickly realise the birth of an intelligent civilization. Moreover the constant and increasing emission of radio waves over recent decades will make it significantly easier for alien civilizations to locate the Earth, and to proceed upon it.
Since radio waves have been emitted for 50 years, effectively only stars within the ‘speed of light bubble’ will have received these signals by now, which is a total of 523598 cubic light years. This is projected to increase eightfold over the next 50 years, due to the volume expansion of the ‘radio bubble’. With these figures, we can be reasonably confidence that intelligent aliens within our local neighbourhood will eventually become aware of our existence, and indeed initiate its desired action.
Furthermore, there is a significant public desire for the construction of a Death Star, for example a petition for the US to begin Death Star construction attained over 34,435 signatures.
Impact 1 – Initiating a ‘Sputnik Moment’
Perhaps the most significant impacts are not those directly as a result of the construction of the Death Star. The commissioning of a Death Star will undeniably catalyse a rapid technological progression akin to Sputnik which to the Apollo program.
There is significant evidence of this during the ‘Sputnik moment’ in the late 1950’s, when the Soviets surpassed the US in space-development. The Apollo program that succeeded Sputnik drove the development of a plethora of technologies of which many have had a long-lasting impact to this day including navigation, telemetry, insulation, computation, wireless, etc. The Apollo program essentially ushered in the ‘Golden Age’ for the US, and the US’s status as technological leader has been eroded ever since.
Upon commissioning the Death Star, the technologies required for constructing the Death Star would see immediate development. These technologies such as ion propulsion, nuclear fusion, construction of space-bases, asteroid resource mining, multi-use lifters, a space elevator, nuclear batteries, improved 3D printing technologies, higher energy particle accelerators, robotics, etc.
The development of nuclear fusion technologies alone would be a signfiricant enough impact of this proposal that voters should vote Pro on. Since this effectively leads to limitless energy availability, which is one of, if not the most limiting factor of economic growth.
Impact 2: Job & Housing Market
A functioning Death Star would create over 2 million jobs in direct operations, as well as living space for aforementioned 2 million employees. Given today’s numbers, which would provide employment and housing space for nearly 1% of the US population.
Another consideration is that once the Death Star is complete, it would be a self-sustaining and self-contained body. Hence if the Earth was annihilated by either alien invasion, or other disasters such as bolloid impact (such as that which wiped out 75% of all Earth’s species during the K-Pg boundary), then the Death Star would serve as an indefinite ‘capsule’ for humans to continue to exist, independently of the disasters that will inevitably hit Earth.
Therefore, even if scepticism was posed against the Death Star being an effective deterrent, one should still vote Pro if they value the continued existence of the Human species.
Impact 3: Launchpad for Spacecraft
The escape velocity from the Earth is 11.2 km/s, and the escape velocity from the Sun when on the Earth is a total of 43.5 km/s, this significantly limits what we are capable now in terms of sending spacecraft around within the solar system, or on interstellar travels. By following through on the proposed plan of commissioning and converting a metallic asteroid, we reduce our intrasolar escape velocity to just 0.13 km/s, and interstellar scape velocity to just 24.7 km/s.[6,7]
The commissioning of a death star would allow for much more flexibility on spacecraft launch options, as significantly less propulsion is required to get to the required destinations, which is exemplified in the ideal rocket equation.
Simply put, having the Death Star would allow for a base from which combat ships can be launched, as well as industrial ships, such as those for asteroid mining (especially useful since the proposed location of the Death Star is within the asteroid belt).
As it stands, we do not have a ready-to-launch capability on Earth, because the propulsion technologies and requirements are so enormous. However when launching from a body with a very low escape velocity, much cheaper technologies, and technologies inappropriate for non-orbit escape such as ion drives become potent options. The Death Star would provide us with ready-launch capability that gives us the versatility and flexibility to act and react on-demand, with minimal planning and preparation, and with less sophisticated technology than is currently required for Earth escape.
One of the most common objections to commissioning a Death Star is that it is impossible to launch the required material into space (some 10^19 kg), which is a valid objection. But this is neither needed nor appropriate, since we have a plethora of metallic bodies within the solar system that we can transform into a Death Star. One such example form which I will issue as a direct plan is to manufacture an M-Type (metallic-type) asteroid called 16-Psyche.[8,9] It is the ideal size than the required specifications (240×185×145 km), as well as an exceptionally high metallicity, which means minimal, or no ore processing is required to transform the body into a suitable death star.
Therefore, the development of the technologies preliminarily required for the death star (nuclear fusion, development of interstellar manned bases, development of the necessary robotics and A.I.) would be initiated on Earth, and will succeed and existing efforts in these area.[10,11]
The beginning of construction will involve the establishment of a self-sustaining biosphere on 16-Psyche, followed by the establishment of manufacturing capabilities. The technology for biosphere manufacture already exists on Earth and has been highly successful, and only the logistics of establishing the same types of biosphere on 16-Psyche is required. Ideally nuclear fusion would be used to power facilities on 16-Psyche, however fission based technologies such as solid-fuel uranium, and on-the-horizon liquid fuel technologies are sufficient to fuel most initial and long-term activities on 16-Psyche with adjustments.[12,13]
The expansion of the biosphere on 16-Psyche will remain the priority which will allow for extraneous scientific work to be conducted. Due to the low gravity and escape velocity, the interior of 16-Psyche would gradually be excavated and modelled to provide shelter, living quarters, and space for the installation of space for spacecraft storage/docking, propulsion, and weapon installation.
The weaponisation of 16-Psyche will complete the transformation of the asteroid into the Death Star, with the installation of missiles, lasers, jamming equipment and projectile weapons. This will not be completed until the biosphere is versatile and functional.
This has the advantage of creating a ‘human lifeboat’ early in the construction process, which requires fewer resources than the complete weaponisation of the asteroid. Therefore, if the Earth were attacked, or struck within the next few years, then we would still be able to thrive on the incomplete Death Star.
A pragmatic, and potent solution to the Earth’s interstellar defensive problems that also offers a solution to a plethora of extant issues on Earth such as energy and intra-solar system travel & manipulation is available via. the construction of a Death Star. The motion for construction of such is imperative in light of the present situation of the imminent discovery of Earth by intelligent aliens.
- 1. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov...
- 2. https://www.youtube.com...
- 3. http://theweek.com...
- 4. http://ccep.anu.edu.au...
- 5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
- 6. http://keisan.casio.com...
- 7. Note, data for reference #9 plugged in to source #6
- 8. http://en.wikipedia.org...
- 9. http://en.wikipedia.org...
- 10. http://en.wikipedia.org...
- 11. http://en.wikipedia.org...
- 12. http://www.iaea.org...
- 13. http://en.wikipedia.org...
I am going to start with rebuttals and then move into arguments of my own. As the Burden of Proof is heavily on Pro it is up to me to simply negate that a Death Star is in the citizens of the United States' best interest.Rebuttals 1. Status Quo
To put it simply we have no evidence of extraterrestrial life. Governments have no acknowledged any presence of life in our solar system or local galactic neighborhood. We cannot justify a building project of this kind because there might
be aliens nearby who might
be hostile who might
be able to reach us in a reasonable amount of time to affect the near future. That is a lot of uncertainty to start on a project that will very likely break the entire global economy. a. "Intergalactic Defense"
My opponent says we have no interstellar combat capabilities, which is true, but a Death Star would not even be the right type of capability to develop in the name of defense. The Death Star is a primarily offensive weapon whose original purpose was to be deployed to incite fear among star systems.
"Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station." - Gran Moff Tarkin 
That is not a defensive capability. In fact the Death Star's main purpose is to destroy a planet. The only planet we have to destroy right now is our own. It would make no sense to construct such a base. My opponent is arguing for building a purely offensive station, designed to destroy planets and have battle fleet support (of which we have none of) in the name of defense. This makes no sense. 2. Sputnik Moment
Simply saying we want to develop a technology does not mean the technology will appear. You seem to think just because we say "time to build a Death Star" that the technology to do so will come into existence in a reasonable amount of time. This is absurd. We do not have the technology to complete such a project. Not even close. It took us ten years to get a probe onto a comet  and even then we didn't land it properly. Now you want us to build a Death Star? Insanity. Leonardo a Vinci also wanted to invent fabulous machines such as flying machines  but just because he willed them to work and put them into "development" did not mean that his efforts came to fruition. In fact, we did not achieve flight until centuries later despite having a "Sputnik Moment" getting inspired by other successes and developing flying machines.
Trying to develop ion propulsion, space elevators, lasers that can destroy entire planets, will be a similar venture. Even if we did put these techs into development the technology that goes into building a Death Star is so advanced we would have to develop countless technologies simultaneously and deploy them together when we've never had such technologies before. It is not a logical thing to hope for.3. Jobs/Housing
Most of these "jobs" you claim will be created would have to end up in space at some point. Most of the work, especially if we follow your plan, will be done in space. We don't even have the capabilities to get our own astronauts into space at the moment, a shuttle of a few people. How are we supposed to safely transport 2 million people into space and have them live in space stations when the technology is not there? Seems like a bogus statistic to me. a. Disasters
The Death Star would have to be 100% self sufficient in order for it to serve this purpose as my opponent wants. First of all the Death Star is a military installation. It was not designed with civilians in mind. It wasn't designed to house humanity and be self sufficient. Changing the Death Star from a purely military construct into something of an Ark for humanity would make it no longer a Death Star. You are now arguing for a different project entirely. 4. Launch Pad for Spacecraft
The question I am going to ask in response to this section is: Why do we have to build a Death Star to launch spacecraft? Why not build a far more viable space port that is not the size of a small moon? Could we not for example, put a space port on the moon to launch spacecraft?
Furthermore, in order for the ships to get this benefit they would already have to be on the Death Star. Is the Death Star also going to manufacture ships? How are we getting the ships/ship parts the Death Star? They are still going to have to originate on Earth so the benefits are negated by that. Unless your Death Star can also harvest, build, construct and deploy the ships all internally without having any interaction with ships leaving another planetary body your math is useless. 5. Plan
Since we can barely land a probe on a comet I am skeptical to our ability to convert an asteroid into a Death Star with our current capabilities.
Secondly, converting this asteroid would not make a Death Star. If we look at the opening round of this debate, the link provided [http://starwars.wikia.com...
] shows something completely different than what my opponent describes. My opponent conjures to mind a lumpy asteroid that is ill fitted with some equipment and then slapping the name Death Star to it. The Death Star was not a converted asteroid but a fully constructed battlestation that is spherical and wholly artificial. By making this argument my opponent is purposefully breaking from the original argument he set out to defend in the purpose of making his job easier. This entire plan does not make a Death Star that the debate calls for but rather it makes a crudely converted asteroid into a "weaponized" "human lifeboat" and not a Death Star.
According to the original source provided the Death Star has over 40,000 various laser batteries and outfits. That is just the weapon compliment alone. Not to mention we would have to build a station the size of a small moon completely artificially in order to satisfy the debate requirements. I would wager that the entire Earth does not have enough materials or capital to build such a massive monstrosity. Pouring endless money into a completely frivolous and fruitless endeavour will both a) take money out of other projects that are more realistic and more directly benefit people on Earth and b) would put enormous strain on the global economy. And for what? Nothing.2. US Citizens
The debate is framed around the US citizen which my opponent has not mentioned at all. He mentions humans and humanity a lot but not the US citizen. The debate is not about whether a Death Star is good for humanity or Earth but the United States in general. That being said, the United States would have to foot this bill almost entirely on their own if they are going to be the ones who are the primary beneficiaries. The United States already has nearly $18,000,000,000,000 in debt currently and is in no position to undergo such a project for their benefit. The US citizen would not benefit from a Death Star. It would be economically detrimental to the citizen and putting in so many resources to a fruitless project would damage the United States on the global scale just as the arms race in the Cold War damaged the USSR. Conclusion
There is not an immediate threat from aliens. The Death Star is an offensive weapon not defensive so its usefulness defending the Earth is questionable anyways. The only inhabited planet we can destroy at the moment is our own. The technology simply doesn't exist to build such a station and is not even on the horizon. The plan my opponent proposed does not fit with his original plan of the Death Star. There are simpler methods of achieving the benefits he describes without building a military battlestation. The US citizen would not benefit from the construction of a Death Star in the slightest. Thank you.
Con’s flippant dismissal of extra-terrestrial life is just that, frivolous. An understanding of the abundance of planets we have found which do not even include the small rocky planets (which are most habitable for life within this universe) already provide a massive number of likely habitable systems within our local neighbourhood.
According to Murphy’s Law, anything that is possible to happen WILL happen given enough opportunity. However, our understanding of thermodynamics, abiogenesis and self-organization only makes virtually certain with what we know, as Jeremy English affirms:
“..the origin and subsequent evolution of life follow from the fundamental laws of nature and “should be as unsurprising as rocks rolling downhill.” 
To put this into application, wherever there is the opportunity for life (such as an Earth-similar planet), there WILL be life. Furthermore, we know life on Earth began virtually immediately after Earth became inhabitable (after the period of heavy bombardment), which heavily heavily suggests life is something that happens rapidly when given the chance.
It simply doesn’t matter if aliens *some* might not be hostile, it is inevitable that some, or many will be. Stephen Hawking said we only need look as far as our own race to see what happens when an ‘inferior’ race is chanced across. Furthermore, below graph describes the number of stars that will have received our radio signals over time:
By 2100, approximately ~200 stars will have received our signals, with at least as many planets. By 2200, nearly 1,000 planets will be aware, and this number increases cubically. Therefore it is imperative we take action NOW while the number of planets aware of our existence remains low, as it will soon be too late as the graph shows.
Con concedes that we indeed have our pants down by our knees when it comes to interstellar combat capabilities, as well as no intrasolar travelling capabilities. It seems Con’s position is much the same as those of climate change deniers, who refuse to take action until they are knee-deep in mess. To take the famous English idiom:
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
The Death Star would be primarily a deterrent, in its alien combat capabilities. We only need to assess our nuclear deterrence projects in place today to see the effectiveness of mutually assured destruction programs (MAD). Furthermore, the Death Star would make for an effective large ship eliminator, as was witnessed with the Death Star II in “Return of the Jedi”
Another consideration, is that any aliens that exist will either be:
- 1. Millions of years behind Earth
- 2. Millions of years ahead of Earth
This is simply a fact of human timescales being tiny compared to cosmological timescales. Therefore, any aliens that are capable of receiving our signals will have technological capabilities many years ahead of ours. We only need to consider Moores Law, the doubling of computing power every 2 yearsshows how fast things can change.
Impact 1 - Sputnik Moment
Pro is comparing apples with oranges when he compares the 67P comet landings to asteroid landings, and is rather dishonest. Let the below table summarise the differences:
Comet 67P has a much, higher orbital eccentricity, and much higher orbital inclination, and is further away. This makes rendezvousing with the comet orders of magnitude more difficult than an asteroid, which we have sent countless probes to already.
But, most importantly, is the mass, 16-Psyche has over a million times greater gravity than 67P, making landing six orders of magnitude easier!!!! We have in fact accomplished landing on asteroids with spacecraft that were never even build with landing capabilities!!!
All the technologies I have listed are on the horizon of existing science, many or most are projected to be available within the next 50-100 years. An investment, such as the Death Star will obviously dramatically accelerate this process.
During the Sputnik moment, manned spaceflight was completely impossible; it had yet to be attempted. Virtually all the technologies within the Apollo were unique, and designed for the mission. They were all ‘on the horizon’, and the Apollo program made them actualise. The same is the case here with the Death Star. We already have much of the background science for ion propulsion (which is already in use), space elevators, and lasers down. What is required is development and adaption for the project at hand.
Note that we don’t actually need all technologies *fully* developed BEFORE initiating the Death Star, as we have projects we can begin within current capabilities that need to be performed anyway to make 16-Psyche (or another suitable asteroid) habitable (biosphere).
Impact 2 - Jobs/Housing
Pro’s only objection to this appears to be the logistics of moving 2 million people. Con ignores the fact that this is a long-term project. The Death Star is not intended to be ‘just another ISS’, which is only designed to last at most 30 years. The Death Star will be an indefinite development. Staff will be born and raised on the Death Star. Therefore the immediate problem of moving that many people need not be a problem at all.
Furthermore, rockets capable of exactly this type of interstellar travel from Earth have very recently been approved by NASA. The proposed craft is capable of lifting an enormous 130 tonnes (!!). By comparison, the Apollo missions only towed 44 tonnes. 
The technology isn’t immediately here, but everything required for the biosphere, and transport, and self-containment is on Earth, and only requires additional development.
Con doesn’t approve my option to use the Death Star as an ark. But who the heck cares, it still remains a valid reason to have a Death Star, even if it is not it’s primary role. The best ideas are multi-faceted, and versatile in their application. Oil refiners for example yields natural gas, bitumen, petroline, as well as chemical products. If refiners only produced gasoline, the overall project would be less attractive and less useful. The fact that the Death Star is so versatile can only be a point in its favour.
Impact 3 - Launch Pad for Spacecraft
“ Why not build a far more viable space port that is not the size of a small moon? ..“ “..on the Moon”
- 1. We aren’t ‘creating’ the platform, the platform already largely exists. We are simply functionalising it.
- 2. The asteroid is an M-Type asteroid. So spacecraft can be made from the raw materials on it. I.e. it will be both built AND launched in space, saving the need to launch from Earth
- 3. The moon has very limited & impractical natural resources to build spacecraft, due to its low metallicity 
- 4. The moon has 1,000x larger gravitational pull
I remind Con and the voters that the resolution depicts a comparable death star to the specifications given. Con complains that my plan entails a ‘weaponised asteroid’, not a Death Star, which is blatantly false. Who cares how the Death Star came to be, so long as it’s made, and is comparable to the one I linked to. Even George Lucas’ Death Star would have had a massive focus on living quarters and a biosphere, food, water and energy simply don’t ‘poof’ into existence even in Lucas’ world, nor should they in ours.
It matters not what the Death Star is made from, but what it becomes. The plan is a progressive plan which converts the metal rich asteroid into a fully functional Death Star. Even a partially functional & complete Death Star was still regarded as such in Return of the Jedi.
Pro’s arguments here lack objectivity. In the plan I demonstrated that a Death Star can be built pragmatically and incrementally. Moreover we do not need to mine or launch the material into space as we can simply convert existing metallic objects into a functional Death Star. Why waste resources building something from scratch if you have virtually everything you need in something that has existed for millions of years.
We already have thousands, millions of lasers on Earth. For example high-energy lasers have already been developed to the extent that can shoot down missiles from passenger jet planes. Therefore a battery of 40,000 of similar calibre lasers is trivially within our capabilities. Microwave lasers, countermeasures, plasma cannons, etc. are no longer science fiction. We have real AND potent models of these already in use on Earth. Thus Con’s rebuttals fail.
Con seems to have ignored all my arguments here. Everything I have argued so far is with the US Citizens in mind. Both national & international security, scientific and technological benefits, economic benefits (from increased employment and housing). I would have thought the benefits to the US Citizens here would be blatantly obvious.
I could expand here too, the Death Star would clearly seat the US back as the undisputed superpower of the globe. This gives the US an increased grip on national security and community stability, since risk from war is mitigated. Moreover, it is within the self-interest of the US citizens to have Death Star purely from the virtue that “they want one”, as was indicated by the ~35,000 signatories on the petition.
Furthermore, just because the Death Star would be owned by the US does not preclude international investment and relations. It is easily expected that other nations will have a vested interest in the Death Star and will make contributions accordingly for research, defence, job and related relations. Pro’s talk of US debt exactly one thing:
- 1. The US have enormous spending power
A Death Star would easily be absorbed into US’s spending capabilities.
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- 21. http://tinyurl.com...
Can't finish this debate.
Thanksgiving time is far more important.
PS. This is why I don't debate anymore. Life.