The petition was started by one John S, a Colorado man who was convinced that the building of a Death Star would create thousands of jobs as well as strengthening national security.

Since John started his petition more than 25,000 people have signed it on the White House’s website, prompting the government to at least respond to it. Which they have.

Paul Shawcross, chief of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget’s Science and Space Branch, response came in the form of a letter saying: “The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defence, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon.”

For one thing Shawcross claimed that the construction of a Death Star would cost an estimated US$850,000,000,000,000,000 ($850 quadrillion) and thus contravened the policies of the Obama administration.

‘We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.’ he said

Mr Shawcross also rather humorously pointed out that spending so much money on an interstellar weapon with such a well documented Achilles heel seemed a little bit pointless.

Not all is lost though for the 34,000 or so petitioners desperate for a large, floating metal object in space.

‘Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations.’

And he showed himself to be something of a Star Wars fan, signing off the letter with the line: ‘Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.’

Seems that even scientists’ have a sense of humour… At least some of them.