By Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - The Obama administration dashed the hopes of Star Wars geeks across the galaxy by rejecting an official petition calling for the U.S. government to build a Death Star, the fictional planet-destroying space station featured in the Star Wars movies.
"The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon," said Paul Shawcross, head of the White House budget office's science and space branch.
"The Administration does not support blowing up planets," Shawcross wrote in a response to the 34,435 people who signed the petition on the White House website.
The White House accepts petitions and responds to the most popular ones. Most of the petitions on the website address weighty policy issues. (Link to petition: http://r.reuters.com/wyv25t)
But in recent weeks, national attention has been drawn to quirky petitions, such as one that supports the minting of a trillion-dollar platinum coin to avoid a debt default if Congress fails to raise the U.S. debt limit next month.
The Death Star petitioners argued the project would create jobs and strengthen national defense. But it would be costly, particularly at a time when the government is fixated on finding ways to slash spending and reduce its debt.
"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," Shawcross said. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)