I’m very excited about seeing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which tells the tale summarised in the original Star Wars’ opening crawl. This is the story of how the rebels stole the plans to the original “Death Star” – a space station the size of a small moon with a weapon powerful enough to destroy a planet.
If we could get our hands on those plans, could we build a similar fortress? I decided to try and work out some aspects of how a Death Star might actually work. In Star Wars lore, the 120km (75-mile) diameter space station was made from quadanium steel (a fictional metal alloy) and crewed by 2m Imperial personnel, including officers, Stormtroopers and TIE pilots.