2001: A Space Odyssey

Factual error: When we see the space station from the cockpit of the approaching shuttle, the station does not appear to rotate because the shuttle is rotating at the same speed. OK...except that the station IS still rotating with respect to the sun, which means that the light source and shadows on the station should be moving.

Factual error: On board spaceship Discovery, the crew's living area is the spinning centrifuge, which spins about its axis to generate a gravity-like acceleration at its perimeter, the floor. When exiting the centrifuge a crewman climbs a ladder from the floor up to the hub, where there's a door leading to other parts. When Poole & Bowman climb this ladder, it's evident that they're under full body weight the whole way up. But in reality they'd get steadily lighter toward the hub. In fact, they'd be practically weightless within a few feet of it.

Factual error: In the title shot, the camera rises above the dark side of the moon, revealing the crescent of the Earth, which in turn reveals the full disc of the Sun. The Sun is surrounded by the pinpoint lights of distant stars, but there are virtually no stars visible on the darkened far left and far right sides of the screen. This is exactly opposite of how real-life astronauts describe the star scape: Astronauts say that no stars are visible when looking in the general direction of the Sun, and that stars only become visible to the human eye as you turn away from the Sun.

Charles Austin Miller

Other mistake: There is something drastically wrong with the design of the spherical 'Aries' moon shuttle. Some seats and many fixtures are 'upside down' relative to the up-down orientation of the shuttle itself, and we see loose food trays and equipment about the place as if this is routine. But - the shuttle is designed to land on the moon. What happens then? The moon has gravity, remember? There are going to be quite a few very disgruntled people dangling upside down like spiders, and there will be loose gear (and perhaps a stewardess or two) bouncing about all over the place. It is not a matter of stowing loose gear or lying flat on landing - some parts of the shuttle are upside down relative to others, which is why the stewardess has to do that famous 180 degree upside down walk. Whichever way you look at it the shuttle is going to encounter serious problems when it reaches a gravity well, which will occur whenever the engines are fired up, never mind landing on the moon.

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Suggested correction: The shuttle lands "on its back" with legs extending beyond the engines. As in most traditional sci-fi, and ALL actual, space flights to date, the launch (and landing) orientation for humans is to be on one's back. This minimizes blood being sucked down to your feet if you were sitting upright at launch - you could pass out. So we see this when the shuttle lands on the moon - the cockpit (red window) faces up (pilots on their backs, facing out the window). When we presume that the passenger cabin was 180 degrees spun around from the cockpit seating, they're still on their backs. Any loose objects would have been stowed before landing - the airlines don't lock down your bags, newspapers and coffee cups, right? They're loose in the cabin during flight, but put away on takeoff and landing.

Airliners do not fly upside down. The Orion shuttle cannot possibly operate the way it does if it lands in a gravity environment - some rooms are upside down relative to others - why else would the stewardess do the 180 degree vertical walk? It is an idiotic design flaw, and the posting is 100% correct.

More mistakes in 2001: A Space Odyssey

Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

More quotes from 2001: A Space Odyssey

Trivia: The little girl on the picture phone is director Stanley Kubrick's daughter Vivian. (00:27:50)

Larry Koehn
More trivia for 2001: A Space Odyssey

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