Important Question Of The Day: How Long Would It Take To Mop The Death Star?

12.18.12 5 years ago


Just last week, a White House petition to build a Death Star received enough votes to warrant an official response. That prompted us to revisit this study by economics students at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, in which they estimated the cost of building the Death Star from Star Wars. Now those student have returned for another important calculation: what it would take to mop the floors of the Death Star.

They assumed the floors would have to be mopped by humans. (Where are the droids we’re looking for when we need them?) They also assumed the average ceiling height was 4 meters, which is higher than usual to account for rooms which need higher ceilings to accommodate TIE fighters and the like. (We’ve heard Darth Vader has 20-meter-high storage shelving units just for his Hello Kitty collection.)

At a diameter of 140 kilometers with 4-meter-high ceilings, the Death Star would have approximately 35,000 floors of varying circumference. The students estimated the total floor space to be 359.2 million square kilometers.

Let’s assume a very generous mopping rate of 1 square meter per second. If Darth Vader were to try to mop the entire station without a break then it would take him 11.4 million years to do it. Which seems like a lot, but would at least give him plenty of time to think about his children.
But the canteen probably wouldn’t be pleased with a kitchen that is only cleaned every ten million years or so. There’s not too much mud in space so let’s assume that the entire station has to be cleaned once a year. We also assumed a standard workweek of 40 hours. To get the job done in a year 48.0 million workers would have to be hired. This represents around 33% of America’s total labour force. If you could somehow convince them all to work for minimum wage then the owners of the Death Star would have to budget $723 billion a year to keep the floors clean. This would represent about 30% of the American federal government’s annual budget. [Centives]

We know one way they can cut those costs by 75% . . .

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