Eh, not really. We first need to establish someone to claim it AGAINST.
Not necessarily. I'm imagining a "finders keepers" situation, which doesn't require losers in unbounded environments. The idea is that "permanently human-inhabited territory" would grow to include places other than Earth.
Now, a giant colonizing/terraforming/exploring ship, that could be useful. Or a planet-cracker, that could break open planets, drain all the resources, and build more planet-crackers.
Which the Death Star could do. Some official sources have it that the Empire's publicly stated purpose for the Death Star was to mine barren planets.
Well.. as for the insane amount of resources we would need to accomplish this... Please allow me to remind you that nothing is a resource until we know how to use it. Land that contains oil used to be worthless because no one knew you could refine it and transform it into gasoline, etc. The deepest mine is only about 2 miles deep, while the distance from the surface to the core is almost 4000 miles; we've hardly scratched the surface. It's entirely possible that Earth contains enough resources for the job.
Building a working Death Star would put humanity close to Kardashev III. We're talking about dismantling planetoids and using more than Earth's solar energy budget as early prerequisites. At that point, fossil fuels and terrestrial mining would not really matter.
But at any rate, the usual figures for the first Death Star are a diameter of 100 km or 100 miles. Figure ~10% finished structural density, and an asteroid ~45 km or miles in diameter could suffice. With the lower asteroid gravity (and therefore less rock stress), current technology should handle that. But we might as well call for strip mining, since most asteroids aren't very stratified or otherwise differentiated.
But would strip mining an entire planet be a good idea, I'm sure there's a point where there's only so much structural integrity you could rip out or so much you could pull from the core or mantle before catastrophe.
Actually, planets are held together by gravity, not electromagnetism, so they don't really have a structural integrity in the conventional sense. If you scoop out a big chunk from the core, the outer layers would settle a bit (as has happened on Mercury); there might be some impressive earthquakes, but the planet wouldn't fall apart or anything.
Plus, I feel like we could use all that material better on Earth anyways.
The material required would be enough to bury all the land on Earth to a depth of several meters. Do you propose building Coruscant instead?
before counquering we should work on finding a suitable alternate planet to live on
The thing is, with a Death Star or similar spaceship, we wouldn't need another planet. If used for living space, a Death Star would have square footage on the order of Earth's land area, only all habitable. Running life support, even chemical synthesis of oxygen, water, and food, would take a tiny fraction of a Death Star's power output.
or not conquer at all cuz we don't need to :o
We don't even have anything to conquer.
Unless we encounter the Mi-go. If we meet them sooner, it would be advantageous to be able to start on the offensive. If we meet them later, it would be advantageous to have converted as much of the universe as possible into fortified, industrialized living space (which Death Stars could serve as).
Take shit from Pluto, Pluto isn't a planet anymore. ;D
Mining on Pluto would be a total bitch. Much worse than mining in Antarctica. Half the year during Pluto's "winter" the whole goddamn atmosphere freezes out and falls to the ground.
Also, Pluto's outer layers are probably rather light on the metals that would probably be needed.
That would be incalculably awesome, but it would surely doom us all
Maybe we should turn EARTH into the Death Star. A Super Death Star.
How about we build several enormous engines into the ground with exhaust facing out into space, and turn the Earth into a space vessel? Imagine, sun burning out, growing and getting ready to explode. Planets still orbit obediently. Earth says: "fuck this, I'm out" and flies away on its own, like a boss.
let's mine Jupiter
Mine what? There's no solid surface. Only gas, then liquid gas. Best you can do is shove a giant straw into it and slurp it out.
Actually, there's a chunk of what would be terrestrial-planet-stuff in there. And the crazy materials needed to make a Death Star do what we want would probably enable such a straw.
There's no point in building something that large,
Actually, size has certain advantages. The surface area / volume ratio shrinks with size, so shielding becomes more efficient. Adding ten meters of armored radiation shielding to a 100km wide ship is a lot more practical than adding ten meters of shielding to a billion 100m wide ships. The amount of redundancy and system independence possible in a huge ship gives a lot bigger cushion against disasters so long as thermal exhaust ports are kept safe.
especially for possibly offensive/defensive purposes, if force field technology is not feasible, as it would be much easier for any force to take out a massive spaceship, due to its inability to maneuver and the possibility of cascading failures from damage to one section of the ship to other parts (or a massive investment in redundancies which just means you'd be better off with smaller ships). Even for colonizing purposes it really isn't necessary. You'd want to have several ships in case anything happened to a ship, so the whole populace doesn't go down.
Active defenses like shields and point defense lasers depend on the power available, which scales with the volume of a ship. Passive defenses like armor depend on their thickness, and for a given percent of a ship's weight, armor thickness scales with linear dimensions. The idea of Death Star type things is that they are concentrations of offense and defense way out of scale with the status quo, giving them qualitative advantages over the amount of conventional things one could build with the same resources. In Star Wars, this meant that the Death Star could one-shot shielded planets that could withstand bombardment of non-simultanious firepower while being well defended against conventional fleets.
In the real world, where offense currently far outweighs defense, your criticism would be more valid, but in situations like most space operas where offense and defense are about balanced, concentration of both greatly enhances performance. For example, a WWII battleship would easily defeat its weight in cruisers because its big guns could gut a cruiser in one volley while out of range of the cruisers' guns, while its armor would render it nearly invulnerable to the cruisers' shells, numerous though they would be. More realistically, a Death Star could be made pretty much nuke-proof by slapping on armor that would be unreasonable on smaller ships, while entire fleets of smaller ships could be severely damaged or destroyed by a single nuke.
If you're worried about breeding, presumably future colonial ships would carry plenty of frozen sperm and eggs to maintain genetic diversity well into the future, so that the number of humans and inbreeding does not become an issue.
The usual numbers for short / long term population viability are 50 / 500 reproducing individuals. A single Death Star could carry the entire human population of Earth.