Cleaning The Death Star

Cleaning The Death Star

It was just a few months ago that I came across an article on called: “How Long Would It Take Darth Vader To Mop The Death Star?”

Oddly enough, I actually had to know and it was quite interesting, all the way up to the comments section where goobers and poindexter’s from basements around the world converged to debate the subject. OK, I read the comments too! What?! Maybe I’m one of them and darn okie dokie with it!

Suffice it to say, at the time I had plenty of ammo to post here at GT, so I put the Death Star in my back pocket…nooo, not literally! Can you imagine me trying to fit the Death Star in my pocket? I’d be all, Dude! This Death Star just won’t go in my pocket! It’s like huge! And you’d be all, Dude, just squinch it up! And I’d be all, Are you serious? This thing is made of steel or something! And….OK, you get the idea.

As if there wasn’t enough high strangeness going around last year, there was actually a petition to the US Government to build a Death Star, no it’s true and here’s the proof.

On to “How Long Would It Take Darth Vader To Mop The Death Star?”

How Long Would It Take Darth Vader To Mop The Death Star?

ds1(snip) The Death Star is a sphere with a 140km* diameter, made up of layers upon layers of flooring. Picture a huge office building, except ball-shaped.

To figure out how much moppable floor space there was we decided to assume 4m high ceilings. This is higher than usual to take into account the space that is used by hangers/engines/planet destroying superweapons.

We then used some clever mathematics (that you can find over here) to figure out that the total floor space of the entire space station is 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.

ds3But 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 labor 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. Or, if the Pentagon was made responsible for mopping the weapons platform, then you’d have to more than double their budget if you wanted them to maintain existing operations in addition to the mopping. (Although the Pentagon would probably agree to make spending cuts in other areas if they were promised a Death Star in return.)


Many Americans might be unhappy about working for minimum wage, especially with such a long commute. But if they raise the issue with their superiors then management may find their lack of faith…disturbing.

Our special thanks to commenter Philip ‘Moo’ Birch of Matlock, UK, for the inspiration and correspondence whilst writing this article.

*At the time of writing of our previous article on the Death Star, this was the figure given by Wikipedia for the diameter of the first Death Star, though this has now been changed to 160km. For the sake of continuity we’ve stuck to 140km. Students who quote Wiki, beware.

If you enjoyed this, then you’ll probably enjoy reading about how much it would cost to build the Death Star, and how much it would cost to become an unbeatable evil overlord.

Here are just a couple of comments from the original article page:

Anonymous says:
March 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm

The calculations in the article (and the original proposal and amazing response) are based on the economy and workforce of one country (United States of America) on one planet (Earth, Terra, Sol III, etc); the Death Star is the flagship battle station of the Galactic Empire. Their material, labor, and financial resources are so high that they had a second one partially rebuilt and fully armed and operational within about 6 years. I agree that cleaning is probably mouse droids or nanotechnology (although they did oddly have a trash compactor, but it was so inefficient that a large lifeform survived inside it).

Anonymous says:
December 16, 2012 at 3:28 am

My one beef is that they forgot to account for Vader’s force powers, by which he could likely mop remotely. Assuming he could control somewhere around 10 mops effectively at the same time (he can do some pretty heavy lifting, but mopping requires precision, so I think 10 simultaneously working mind-control mops is pretty generous), it should actually only take him 1.14 million years to mop the deathstar by himself.

I don’t know about you, but if I were mopping a place where my life was in constant danger, I mean, come on, it’s right in the name! Death Star!

Employment Agency: Hey, I got an interview for you!
Me: What’s the job?
Employment Agency: Oh, nothing hard, just mopping floors is all. You can do it in your sleep.
Me: Where is it?
Employment Agency: Uhh, well…Imagine a really big building….
Me: So it’s a sky scraper, right?
Employment Agency: Ummm, nooo…Combine like say a planet with a building.
Me: So it’s a really big sky scraper, got it!
Employment Agency: No, I mean it’s as big as a planet, but has the insides of a building.
Me: What?
Employment Agency: Yea, in fact, they call it a Dmrthmr Star.
Me: What?
Employment Agency: I don’t know, it might say Death Star or something on my sheet. You know those typos.
Me: Typos? What else?
Employment Agency: It might, just might have a gigantic death ray built into it. But you won’t be cleaning that, so don’t even give it a second thought.
Me: Will my life be in danger?
Employment Agency: Whaaat? Nooo, what? Danger? Pfft! Are you jok…OK, maybe a little. But that’s only if the thing is attacked by Millennium Falcons and what are the odds of that?
Me: So, what you are telling me is I will be in space on a Death Star hurtling across the galaxy, mopping floors and my life might be in danger from enemy space ships?
Employment Agency: Yes! Oh, and your boss is a little touchy so steer clear of him as he sometimes chokes people to death with his mind. But again, what are the odds? Never gonna happen!
Me: So, what’s the good part of all this?
Employment Agency: It pays time and a half for overtime.
Me: I’ll take it.

Well, that’s all for me everyone! Have a great holiday weekend and don’t forget to check out more from our content provider in the Associated Content section below, including “How Much Does It Cost To Build A Death Star?” I guarantee, it’s a good read.

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