Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…
“David Bowman”
2001: A Mission Planning Odyssey
HAL 9000 eye (Wikimedia Commons)

A paranoid computer and excessive secrecy killed Frank Poole wrecked the Discovery One mission. But, there was another problem that’s been hiding in plain sight for half a century.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In the classic sci-fi movie, “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the first human mission to explore Jupiter goes off the rails when the Discovery One‘s HAL 9000 computer begins to malfunction. Faced with possible disconnection, HAL kills Frank Poole during a spacewalk, turns off life support for three survey team members in hibernation, and traps mission commander David Bowman outside the ship. Bowman manages to get back inside and disconnects the psychotic computer, triggering a video that explains the true purpose of the mission.

The precise reason for HAL’s malfunction and murderous rampage are not really explained in a movie that is the very definition of opaque. We know that it involved a monolith dug up on the moon that sent a signal to Jupiter. And that HAL knew about it. The answer lies beyond the infinite.

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