That’s no moon: It’s a gaping hole in the Empire’s budget. The Death Star, as depicted in the first Star Wars film from 1977, was a terrifying super weapon that could destroy an entire planet, but the bills for keeping it running may have been terrifying too. British energy supplier Ovo Energy decided to pull together all the available data on the Death Star and estimate how much it would cost to power. It turns out to be a lot — about $ 7.7 octillion per day. For the record, an octillion has 27 zeros.
To be accurate, this analysis is not estimating what it would cost the Galactic Empire of Star Wars to power the Death Star. We don’t know enough about its economy or energy sources to calculate that, at least not in the new official universe certified by Disney. This is technically an analysis of what it would cost we lowly humans to power a Death Star if we were suddenly in possession of one. Spoiler: It’s more than all the money on Earth.
The planet-busting laser is the biggest expense. This calculation is based on the power needed to destroy an Earth-like planet, which we assume Alderaan is — er, was. Assuming you need 10^32 joules of energy, that works out to a cost of $ 5.1E+24. The next largest cost calculated by Ovo Energy is operating the hyperdrive. Using estimates of the amount of power needed to jump into hyperdrive, it figured that a single jump would cost $ 1.1E+23 (a 1 followed by a 1 and 22 more zeros). Recharging that laser in a day would also require more energy than the sun puts out during that time (tack on a few more zeros).
Even something as simple as lighting all 85 levels and 257 sub-levels of the battle station would be a costly endeavor. Assuming the lighting technology we have now, it would cost around $ 52 billion per day just to keep the lights on. Food for the crew of 2 million? That works out to $ 299,000 per day, including two cups of tea because Ovo is a British company. When you add in the various smaller bills like nearly $ 200,000 for laundry and more than double that for waste disposal, you end up with the final tally of $ 7.7 octillion per day. That’s 30 trillion times all the money on Earth.
None of this addresses the cost of actually building a Death Star in the first place. On this, we have semi-official numbers. In 2013 a White House petition to build a Death Star reached the threshold required to get a reply from the administration. They pointed out it would cost roughly $ 850 quadrillion to build the structure. It’s probably for the best we didn’t build it, considering how expensive it is to operate.
Check the full infographic from Ovo below for all the numbers. They’re in British pounds, of course.