In the mid-1980s, Ronald Reagan sparked a media storm with his now-infamous Strategic Defense Initiative. It was a multi-billion dollar defense program, coined “Star Wars” by the media, because it proposed the future of America’s anti-missile defense system was putting lasers in space. His vision of futuristic, earth-orbiting laser weapons rode on the promise of “surgical precision”—the laser as lightsaber against the Soviet threat.
Of course, the SDI never happened. Reagan’s ambition was ridiculed as unrealistic and unscientific. It was too much like George Lucas’s space opera to be believable.