Top 10 Reasons We Should Consider Building a Battlestar (And Not A Death Star)

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Recently, it was suggested that America should build a Death Star, but this PhD is here to tell you otherwise.  I recommend that we swap our science fiction franchises, and go with the titular space ship from one of television’s best space operas of all time, Battlestar Galactica.  So, Death Star be damned; let’s build us a BATTLESTAR instead, and here’s why…

10. A Force Of Good vs. A Force Of Evil

12-Colonies-flag

First off, why would we want to associate with something built by one of popular culture’s most notorious villainous entities? Is a Galactic Empire ruled by the Dark Lord of the Sith really the path we want to walk down?  By contrast, the Battlestars represent multiple planets coming together peacefully, under a united colonial government, to fight not against fellow humans, but rather against machines.  The Empire used Death Stars to keep people in line, whereas the Twelve Colonies used Battlestars to protect their people from an inhuman threat.

9. A Much Nicer Name

death-star-destruction

What’s in a name?  Well, a lot, actually!  Death Star simply sounds evil, whereas Battle Star sounds bad ass!  Wouldn’t you rather have your tax dollars go toward something that promotes strength and the good fight, instead of something that is 100% focused on murder and destruction?

8. Diversity

Anastasia-Dualla

Look at the crew of the Galactica versus the Death Stars.  The Galactica employs people of diverse backgrounds, whereas practically everyone on the Death Star is a white male.  If we want something that truly represents the multicultural heritage of our beloved Blue Marble, surely we would want to go with something crewed by people of both genders and most ethnic backgrounds?

7. Multipurpose

galactica-defence

Let’s be honest.  The whole point of the Death Star is to blow stuff up.  Sure, the Galactica can also threaten whole planets with nuclear destruction, but it has also defended fleets, played a role in winning the First Cylon War, and was even a museum for a time.  A space ship that doubles as a museum and a warship provides practical defensive purposes, as well as entertainment value during times of peace.

6. To Boldly Go Anywhere

battlestar-travelling

Unlike the Death Stars, which do not have much in the way of adventures, Galactica operates in a manner somewhat akin to the Starship Enterprise (and if anybody is up for making the argument that a Starship should be built, we would love to hear it,) experiencing all sorts of adventures while exploring space. It even establishes a settlement on New Caprica, before laying the foundation for human civilization on what becomes our version of Earth.  As such, the Galactica functions as a ship of exploration, as much as a ship of conquest.

5. Democracy Over Dictatorship

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The Death Star seeks to preserve an absolutist Empire, dissolving the Imperial Senate in a manner reminiscent of how King Charles I of England tried to rule without Parliament from 1629 to 1640, or the French Kings without the Estates General from 1614 to 1789, or even the Russians without the Assembly of the Land after 1653.  By contrast, even in the face of near annihilation, the Galactica preserves democracy; any brief coup attempts are quickly thwarted. The crew of Galactica is ultimately subordinate not to a Dark Lord or an Emperor, but rather a President, as well as a sort of representative body called the Quorum of Twelve. As such, we see in the Galactica various hallmarks of democracies beyond government.  People practice diverse religions, largely based on Greek mythology, and people have distinct personalities.  The crew members of the Death Stars seem practically interchangeable and devoid of individual expression, by contrast.

4. Give The People What They Want

real-life-viper

Based on several popular web forums, people are clamoring for the construction of a Battlestar, and are actively debating the feasibility of such a project. At the same time, others are going to great effort to construct virtual replicas in mediums such as Minecraft. In addition, a real life-size Viper (one of the smaller assault ships housed on a Battlestar) is in the works, so we are clearly ready for the next big thing, and that thing is certainly not a Death Star.

3. No Obvious Design Flaw

death-star-explosion

No matter how hard the Galactic Empire tried, they built two Death Stars, only to have the rebels find some kind of catastrophic design flaw both times. This allowed both Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian to destroy the moon-resembling space stations with one epic explosion each.  Compare that with the Galactica.  That ship took a tremendous pounding for years and survived multiple battles, while still possessing nuclear weapons capable of threatening a planet.  Yet, despite many efforts, the Cyclons never managed to blow the ship up in just one battle.

Again, just think about that: at its first big battle, the Death Star was totally destroyed.  Then, the second Death Star is soon obliterated during its “grand opening.”  Talk about wasting a crazy amount of time, effort, and life into something that can’t even survive one stinkin’ battle, which leads us to…

2. Longevity

two-deathstars

Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus survive an apocalypse for some time, whereas the two Death Stars cannot even survive one battle each.  Battlestars are built Colonial tough and, as such, protect an entire fleet of survivors long enough for them to resettle on a planet.  The Death Stars thus represent a costly, and embarrassing, disaster for the Empire that results in its collapse, whereas the most famous of the Battlestars manages to preserve humanity and, in that series’ story, it does so in such a way that it allows for mankind of the develop and thrive on Earth!

Besides, as the show suggested, all this has happened before and has happened again. Maybe we need to prove that message right, so as to keep mankind alive for when the next time robots rise against us.  Speaking of which…

1. Cylons vs. Sith Lords

cylon-and-vader

Ultimately, creating such costly vessels to combat military threats must have a valid threat to fight.  What is more likely to attack us?  Laser sword-wielding martial artists who can also shoot lightning out of their hands, or man-made robots?  Watching a few reruns of Attack of the Show would teach you all about the numerous advances in robotics, including in military use.  Whether or not a Terminator or Matrix type of Robot Apocalypse is coming is debatable, but we are undeniably making all sorts of drones that fly by remote, increasingly human-like robots. These, along with so much more, look like clear precursors to some of the robots imagined in science fiction films and television.

By contrast, barring sudden hostile alien contact, what is the likelihood we will encounter threats like the kind seen in Star Wars?  We have not seen much to suggest that we’re on the brink of joining some Galactic Empire; we certainly have not detected any massive space ships flying around our Solar System. Yet, we continue to develop robotics, and the possibility that they might eventually get out of hand seems much more plausible.  Having a Battlestar running on a code separate from one that these robots can corrupt, seems like a reasonable defense mechanism against them.

If you’re as convinced of this idea as I am, perhaps we can get our own White House petition going, just as the Death Star had. If you do, however, please be serious and make the most of the Government’s time.  After all, a real serious case could be made for interplanetary space travel. Should anything ever happen to Earth, our survival as a species requires that we have the ability to journey elsewhere.

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Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS is the author of Meteors That Enlighten the Earth: Napoleon and the Cult of Great Men, available at Amazon and bookstores everywhere


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32 Comments

    • Uh, NO.

      Babylon-1 = too small
      Babylon 2 = sabotaged
      Babylon 3 = sabotaged, destroyed
      Babylon 4 = lost in a time rift
      Babylon 5 = Blown up because it was a navigational hazard

  1. We should build real-life Transformers instead. (But not the rubbish Michael Bay makes) I mean, look at Transformers the movie, when Optimus Prime blasts all the Decepticons with ease. Just look at how long it took NATO to defeat Gaddafi. Optimus Prime would have done it in 5 minutes. And a real life Devastator or Bruticus would be the Military Industrial Complex dream, and instead of Spy Drones, we could use Laserbeak or Ravage to hunt down al-Qaeda. I`m for it.

  2. While this concept makes for great sci-fi fantasy, it is totally outside the world’s ability to afford it and the resources and capabilities required to build it.

    Considering how long it took to build the international space station, by the time they completed building the Battlestar, the technology applied to the equipment in it, would have evolved to the next level, making the just completed Battlestar incompatible with its Earth bound facilities. And, while there would be temporary employment and economic boom from building such a Battlestar, the national debt it would take would consume all the available credit for needed infrastructure here on Earth. Then there is the time lag between the completed Battlestar and the time we receive any financial benefit from such a venture. It could easily take two decades before we see any benefit from such a venture. Then we need to factor in the inflation such a venture would create. The cost per ton of mining in space has to be many times more costly than here on Earth.

    • Your assumption of the cost per unit of mining resources in space versus Earth is actually incorrect even now. Discoveries about asteroids in the past decade have supported the idea that mining colonies could not only survive on their surface but would be completely self-sufficient. Also, there is no need to return materials back to Earth as they can be processed and utilized in construction 100% in space. The barrier is the cost per unit to push resources needed for the first such colonies into space to get started.

    • Well if all the major earth powers..us.china,russia,europe rechanneled their defense spending budgets on a battlestar it could be done quite easialy the space station is chump change compared too the us defense budget let alone the other major world powers combined i bet it could probably done for the price of a few of our aircraft carriers …. just a thought..

  3. Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS on

    So now that we have articles on building a Death Star and a Battlestar, who is going to take a stab at a list on building a Starship a la Star Trek to complete the trilogy? 🙂

  4. Ok, I thought for sure someone would have thrown the geek flag by now but I guess I’ll have to be the one. The premise was good but I think the comparisons to contemporary (not to mention real-life and historical) socio-political topics were stretched WAY too thin. The Galactic Empire was not a political “empire” it was a theocracy. Clearly there were officers – some of rather high rank – who were more satisfied with their position/power than interested in the ways of the Force, but the machinations that birthed the Empire and its subsequent efforts at suppression ultimately served the purposes of the Sith. It could be argued, too, that the BSG reboot revealed more ideological vs. practical/humanitarian motives at the highest levels of Colonial government than was apparent from the start. As to diversity and/or dissenting opinions on the Death Star, you do know the vast majority of the military force utilized by the Empire was clones, right? Even though that was less true by Ep 4, by necessity, clones would rule out both diversity and dissent. Finally, the Empire had Star Destroyers. Not just a few…a LOT. They, not the Death Stars, provided the effective long arm of the Empire and would be the closer analogy to BSG’s Battlestars.

  5. I’ve always wondered how the Empire gets it funding to build 2 star destroyers and a super star destroyer on top of the hundreds of star destroyers, tie fighters, at-at’s,at-st’s, etc. The Empire wouldn’t be able to simply pull that funding out of thin air. Unless, of course, the Empire is monopolizing from the planet systems it has control over. Then, depending upon the economical advancement of that planet system, would the Empire be able to fund their evil ambitions.

    As far as which spacecraft would be better, I think a battle star would ultimately be much more cost effective and way more practical than a death star.

  6. Michael Giaimo on

    I agree that the Death Star was weak because of one area that blew up the whole thing. I mean the Emperor and Darth Vader could have used their “powerful” mind’s to create something more powerful than that. Sure that thing could take out planets but that whole thing could be taken out with one mini fighter ship. “Dictators never invent their own opportunities”. The Empire spent way to much time trying to seize total power that they were outsmarted by those they underestimated. Represents a lot of real life history …

    • The Emperor and Vader didn’t build the Death Star. And, again, they did not maintain a dictatorship but a theocracy (where power came solely from a metaphysical source rather than a deity, per se, but that is still a theocracy). A better analogy from history would be the extended periods when the Roman Catholic Church wielded as much political/societal power as it did religious. That also justifies, from the Empire’s perspective, their endless efforts to quash all dissent anywhere in the galaxy. It wasn’t about power but survival as those who did not accept that the Force vested power in the Empire could not be controlled and, therefore, could not be ignored lest their “blasphemous” ideas could spread widely enough to bring down the regime…which is exactly what happened.

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS on

      Imagine how unstoppable someone would be if they had a Death Star, a Battlestar, a Base Star, and a Starship (not the Jefferson kind, but the Enterprise kind!). 🙂

  7. While the reasons as to why we should build a battle star and not a death star are surely compelling…The possibility of having an opportunity to hang out with Darth Vader in the Death Star is too good to pass. I would love to hear Vader give his speeches with his awesome voice, the man is just a total badass.. I mean really who survives a lava spill, replaces his whole body with robotics and continues to be a sith lord chocking people for taking smack by using the force.. Darth Vader is so cool he deserves a death star… besides this could totally be the theme song of the planet if we had a death star!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=493ljyoox6o

  8. While the reasons we should build a battlestar and not a Death Star sure are compelling, Darth Vader is such a bad ass. Being able to chill with Darth Vader in the death star would be way cool, unless he used the force to choke me or something, besides if Vader was our emperor and we had the death star this could be the theme song of our planet!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=493ljyoox6o thats just too good to pass!!

  9. I can definitely say that reading this has been informative, to say the least. As incredible as it sounds, I’ve never seen any of the movies mentioned in this article. From the sounds of it, I would go for the Battlestar. I am all for democracy over dictatorship, and I obviously am in favor of the one that includes women and all types of diversity.

  10. From reading this article, I now feel like I watched star wars, despite never actually seeing the film. With the idea that a battlestar allows for diversity and democracy over dictatorship, I am in full favor of the battlestar being constructed. WE should be represented as strong and good willed! We pride ourselves in fighting for the good of others.

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS on

      Dear Natalie,

      I strongly encourage you to see Star Wars. Even if it is not the kind of movie that interests you, it is referenced so regularly in popular culture that is worthy of being familiar with just for all the times someone makes an allusion to it so that you get the reference. There are a certain number of books everyone really should read, songs everyone should hear, and movies everyone should see just because of their incredible influence on our culture.

      Best,

      Matthew

  11. I bet Napoleon would build both… just saying. In my opinion, I would go for the battlestar, it would be built for safety and destroy stuff. There’s a reason Vader went down.
    Live long and prosper 🙂

  12. Clifford Vickery on

    In my opinion we should probably cut nasa budgets. Build no death star or batlle star ,maybe we should stark think about what were gonna.do to save our asses on the planet we already have.

  13. I agree with you on this topic, with the Death Star basically being a symbol of dictatorship. A Battestar would not only be more maneuverable but less costly more cost efficient by having no design flaw. Lastly by having more than just one use of a giant green ray, the Battlestar has multiple defenses and utilities.

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS on

      Dear Ryan,

      Thanks! I do wonder, though, if we will even land a man or woman on Mars in my lifetime (I am 33). In reality, it just does not seem like interstellar travel is likely in my lifetime at least. Just think of such films as 2001 and how off earlier predictions of where we would be with space travel have been.

      Sincerely,

      Matthew

  14. Interesting top 10, definitely enjoyed as if it could be a possibility. But I do not think it would happen soon since we can not send people on the moon again I have heard. If it does happen though “great power comes great responsibility”

  15. Mark Jackson on

    If we were to build a Death Star countries such as North Korea might not lat much longer as we might blow them off of the face of the world. This would however make Denis Rodman mad since he is the unofficial liaison to North Korea. Interesting idea though. However, we would probably build a moon base first.

  16. William R. York on

    An interesting idea. Although it is a desirable goal, and assuming some form of workable World democracy has safeguards to make sure it is not turned against Earth, as the SEATHSTAR was, the main drawback is the depressing lack of technology it would take to build and make it workable.
    To begin with, one technology definitely needed would be some form of artificial gravity. Power, most probably in the form of large fusion reactors, both for the immense energy needed for generating artificial gravity, and of course directed high energy weapons, or a rail-gun point defense system, and of course some sort of defensive force field deflector grid, etc… All would be rather useful in such a defensive base.
    Personally, I think something like the BASESTAR in BSGTOS would make a more practical platform then the BATTLESTAR. Its design would allow the generation of artificial gravity by simply turning the centerline axis by 90 degrees. Rotation would generate centrifugal force and gravity within the hulls in the same way the rotating Space Station-V did in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The greater gravity would be at the bottom of the two “Discus” shaped sections, and near zero gravity at the central hub, (probably where the fighter/picket craft would be hangered). Although, this would be a more practical arrangement, I admit the more traditional battleship/ aircraft carrier design is by far a cooler one.

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