Death Star

From Academic Kids

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The First Imperial Death Star

The Death Star is a giant military space station in the fictional Star Wars universe.



The Galactic Empire's ultimate terror weapon, the Death Stars were battle stations several hundred kilometers in diameter and mounting a directed superlaser weapon capable of completely destroying an Earth-sized planet with a single shot. Planetary shields that could have held off entire Imperial fleets were ineffective against such a weapon. The first Death Star held at least 26,000 stormtroopers and over 7,200 TIE fighters.

Two such Death Stars were featured in the original movie trilogy, the first in A New Hope, and the second in Return of the Jedi. The designs for the first Death Star are visible in Attack of the Clones; early construction of the Death Star is seen in Revenge of the Sith.

There is some disagreement about the size of both Death Stars. According to some Expanded Universe sources and (, the first death star was 120 kilometers in diameter. This however, conflicts with the Star Wars Incredible Cross Sections fact book, which states that the first Death Star was 160 kilometers in diameter. There is similar disagreement about the size of the second Death Star seen in Return of the Jedi. ( states that the second death star is 160km in diameter. This is in contrast to the 900 km diameter figure stated in the Inside the Worlds of the Original Trilogy fact book. Detailed scaling of the stations in the movies also suggest the 160 km, and 900 km figures, respectively. DK nonfiction is considered canon by Lucasfilm Limited. Also, the Databank lacks frequent or comprehensive updating, and the DK books were published after the Databank entries were created, which explains the discrepancy.

The initial design of the first Death Star was done by the Geonosians. They gave the designs to Count Dooku to prevent the designs from falling into Jedi hands. Dooku took the designs back to Coruscant and gave them to Darth Sidious and construction of the superweapon battle station was secretly begun after the Empire was formed. Raith Sienar also had plans for a Death Star-like battle station. However, he later let Grand Moff Tarkin take credit for the design since he no longer had interest in the project.

In A New Hope, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker mistake the station for a small moon while following a lone TIE fighter. After escaping from the Death Star, the plans to the station, stolen by Rebel spies (according to the LucasArts video games, a secret signal interceptions asteroid, as well as Kyle Katarn), are transported by Princess Leia (with help from Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO) to Rebel leaders. Luke Skywalker pilots an X-Wing starfighter through a trench-like indentation on the surface of the Death Star, evading a pursuing Darth Vader long enough to launch a proton torpedo down a thermal exhaust port that reaches right down into the "reactor core", causing a chain reaction to destroy the battle station.

In Return of the Jedi, Bothan spies steal the plans to the second Death Star, unaware that their theft was orchestrated by Emperor Palpatine. General Crix Madine and Admiral Ackbar devise a plan for its destruction. Han Solo leads a team to the forest moon of Endor to destroy its shield generator, while group of fighters and the Millennium Falcon piloted by Lando Calrissian fly into the centre of the ship through a narrow maze of pipes and destroy the reactor directly, rushing out in just enough time to escape the ensuing explosion.

One drawback of the original design was the power systems. The first Death Star's reactor required one full day to generate enough energy for a full power shot. However, even low power shots were capable of massive destruction on a planetary scale. The second Death Star had redesigned systems and was capable of firing once every few minutes. It also had improved targeting computers, allowing it to fire the weapon at capital ships.

The second Death Star corrected several flaws of the original design. The two-meter exhaust vent that doomed the first station was replaced with millions of millimeter wide tubes, each designed to seal if excess energy was detected. The second station also boasted far more turbolaser batteries with redesigned targeting systems, allowing them to target starfighters more easily. The greatest concentration of turbolasers was located near the Emperor's throne tower.

Expanded Universe

In the early production of the original movie, the hollow dish was designed to be on the equator, but then it was decided to be on the 'northern' hemisphere. However this old design can still be seen in the grid plan animations seen in the movie. This is because the animation was created before the designer decided to change it. This is a blooper, since the original plan in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones shows the 'later' form.

At the same time of the first Death Star's construction, Sienar was designing a battlestation (without a superlaser) of similar size and prestige as the Geonosian/Imperial superweapon. The best elements of both were apparently merged together with final detail work taking place in the secret Maw Cluster on Kessel. This laboratory completed a scaled-down prototype that was later destroyed by the New Republic.

One of the primary designers of the Death Star was an engineer named Bevel Lemelisk. Lemelisk worked with the Geonosians to convert Sienar's Expeditionary Battle Planetoid into a superlaser-armed battlestation, and later designed more Imperial superweapons in the Maw Installation before overseeing the Death Star's construction at the planet Despayre.

Durga the Hutt also built a small version with only the central laser core and a small living quarters, which was destroyed in the asteroid field around Hoth. This was known as the Darksaber but shoddy construction techniques meant that this attempt was an abject failure even before its destruction.

Many of the Star Wars games are concerned with the Death Star's destruction, or the theft, protection, and transmission of its plans by the Rebel Alliance, and also the Battle of Yavin.


It has been calculated ( that blowing up an Earth-sized planet takes on the order of <math>10^{32}<math> joules of energy; this is roughly the total output of the sun in a week. More detailed estimates place the violent destruction of Alderaan as requiring <math>10^{38}<math> joules of energy, or roughly one million times that necessary to permanently break apart the planet.1 (, 2 (

The prototype Death Star destroyed the moon of the planet Kessel. While there was little detailed information about this event, it would have required around <math>10^{29}<math> joules, assuming similar size and composition to Earth's moon.1 (

Cultural impact

Missing image
The Death Star bears a striking but coincidental resemblance to Mimas, a moon of Saturn

When the Saturnian moon, Mimas was photographed in 1980, it was discovered that it had a giant crater which made the moon coincidentally have a strong resemblence to the Death Star which was quickly noted in popular culture.

Astronomers used the phrase "Death Star" to describe Nemesis, a hypothetical star body first postulated in 1984 that was supposedly responsible for gravitationally forcing comets and asteroids from the Oort Cloud towards Earth.

Internally, the logo of AT&T, due to its visual similarity, is known as the Death Star. When political cartoon and comic strip creators learned of this, many references to AT&T used the Death Star analogy. It was widely seen in Doonesbury and Bloom County comic strips. This name was also given to the titanic former Bell Labs facility in Holmdel, New Jersey, now owned by Lucent.

In the novel Virtual Light by William Gibson, the Los Angeles Police Department uses an orbital satellite for surveillance and communication; the police nickname it the Death Star.

The Death Star has been parodied in such shows as Futurama, which features the "Near-Death Star", an installation in which all U.S.E. (United States of Earth) citizens older than 160 years of age are kept in coffin-like containers plugged into a computer simulation of a nursing home in Florida (in the manner of The Matrix and similar films); also the Brainspawn's InfoSphere(a gigantic memory bank twice the size of three ordinary memory banks), used in a hellish plot to understand and destroy the universe.

In the Oedekerk Entertainment film Thumb Wars: the Phantom Cuticle, the Death Star equivalent is called the Thumb Star or the Death Thumb and looks rather a lot like a thumb. In the true Evil style of Black Helmet Man, it carries weapons capable of destroying a planet (efficiently labeled the "One Huge Weapon Thing"), or spinning it fast to make the inhabitants naseous, as well as several thousand Smaller Ineffectual Weapon Things, ten thousand Thumbtroopers, five thousand Thumbperial Battle Technicians, two thousand Fist-Fighter Pilots, and three bathrooms.

The Sonic the Hedgehog villain Dr. Robotnik built the "Death Egg", an obvious parody of the Death Star (but with his own mugshot plastered on) used to conquer the world in Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It was destroyed, so he went on the make a parody of the second Death Star, the "Death Egg 2" in the arcade fighting game Sonic the Fighters which blew up again.

A reference to the Death Star was also mentioned in the box-office comedy hit "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" (1999). In the movie, the villain - Dr. Evil - was just revived from his cryogenically frozen state after several decades, and was contemplating on several innovative evil schemes to achieve his objective of world domination. Dr. Evil suggested that he will create a new superweapon device by attaching a gigantic "laser" on the moon and then attempt to destroy Washington D.C. with the weapon. Since he was frozen when the Star Wars movies came out, Dr. Evil wasn't aware of the Death Star from the Star Wars universe. He amusingly dubbed his newly formulated device - "the Death Star" - thinking he was the first person to ever conceive of such a sophisticated weapon ingeniously.

Another referance to the Death Star is a disco ball like thing in Powerpuff Girls where it spoofs the canyon fight to the exaust port

See also

External links

it:Morte Nera ja:デス・スター pl:Gwiazda Śmierci pt:Estrela da Morte sv:Ddsstjrnan


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