Star Wars: Experts calculate cost of Death Star... and its destruction

Published
image copyrightGetty Images

If you've ever wondered about the economics of Star Wars, you'll be pleased to hear the maths has already been done.

First up, students in the US with a lot of time on their hands worked out the cost of building the Death Star megastructure.

They calculated it would set you back $852,000,000,000,000,000 (£564 quadrillion). To put that into context - it's roughly 13,000 times Earth's GDP (the total value of everything we make in a year).

Now an expert in electrical and systems engineering has estimated the catastrophic economic impact of the Death Star being destroyed, twice. We'll come back to him.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionFancy these slightly cheaper mini action figurines instead?

So why is it so expensive to build?

"Building a massive space weapon is all very well, but you have to find the materials to build it with," said the students at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

They reckoned producing the steel would take 833,315 years.

"Scaling up to the Death Star, this is about 1.08 x 1,000,000,000,000,000 tonnes of steel," they said. That's an awful lot of steel.

But it's pretty good value when you consider that from the Earth's iron, you could make just over two billion Death Stars.

Remember though, the Death Star's been destroyed twice already in Star Wars films.

Destroyed twice, you say?

Yes, in the first film, A New Hope, and then again in Return of the Jedi, the rebuilt second Death Star is also blown to pieces.

And here's the truly dark side of all these calculations.

Zachary Feinstein, from Washington University in St Louis, explains that he first "modelled the state of the economy of the Galactic Empire".

He then worked out the economic repercussions from the Battle of Endor, when the second Death Star met its end.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionCan't afford a galactic super weapon with room for 400,000 droids? Maybe go for this instead?

He reckoned the Rebel Alliance (the good guys) would have needed a mega bailout to prevent "catastrophic" economic collapse across the galaxy.

"Without such funds at the ready, it's likely the Galactic economy would enter an economic depression of astronomical proportions," he wrote.

"With the disintegration of the Galactic government," he worked out that the losses "would measure $515.5 quintillion (£341 quintillion)".

We told you your head would hurt.

And the next film in the anthology, Rogue One, due out in December 2016, will focus on rebels stealing the plans for the original Death Star...

For more stories like this one you can now download the BBC Newsbeat app straight to your device. For iPhone go here. For Android go here.

Related Topics