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Updated: President Obama shoots down Death Star request with hilarious response

Lucasfilm/Disney

The Death Star, a planet-sized weapon built by Darth Vader and the Empire in George Lucas's science fiction series "Star Wars."

Update: On Saturday, President Obama himself weighed in on the request by the public for the United States to build a Death Star with a "Star Wars"-themed tweet of his own:

Previously: Apparently $850 quadrillion is too much for the cash-strapped Obama administration to spend on a moon-sized superweapon capable of destoying planets with a sole laser strike.

Responding to an overwhelmingly popular request on the White House's website, Paul Shawcross, chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, claimed that the $850,000,000,000,000,000 it would take to build a Death Star similar to the ones seen in "Star Wars" and "Return of the Jedi" would be too costly. 

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DARPA wants full test of 'hypersonic X-plane' in four years

Photo: DARPA

An artist's rendition of the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

When they're not testing gigapixel-class cameras or putting robots on treadmills, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is hard at work on a hypersonic glider with the ablity to travel over 13,000 miles per hour and carry out a military strike anywhere in the world in less than 60 minutes. 

DARPA, the DoD's research arm with the motto "Creating & Preventing Strategic Surprise," announced Friday that it will be seeking proposals next month to help solve tech hurdles in the hypersonic X-plane. The new phase of the program reflects the agency's goal of testing a full-scale hypersonic X-plane in four years. 

On August 14, researchers will host a so-called Proposers' Day, and address specifics about which technical areas are seeking proposals.

Experimental versions of the rocket-launched unmanned glider have already been tested. The craft, designed to fly at speeds 20 times the speed of sound (Mach 20), requires extraordinary controls and has to endure blast-furnace heat. 

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