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.

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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.

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Factual error: During the base briefing all the participants are walking quickly as they would on Earth. This kind of motion is impossible in the lower moon gravity and it is made clear throughout the film that no artificial gravity technology exists that might allow Earth-normal movement. Later, at the monolith excavation site, the walking is slower and more deliberate as it should be.

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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.

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Charles Austin Miller

Factual error: The scene at the Tycho excavation site where the uncovered monolith emits a radio signal after being illuminated by the rising sun incorrectly shows the sun directly overhead. This would be impossible as the crater Tycho is in the moon's southern hemisphere and the sun would never rise that high during the lunar summer.

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Factual error: When Frank Poole and HAL are playing chess, HAL states his move as (in what is called "Descriptive Notation") "Queen to Bishop Three". This is not true, the move he makes is "Queen to Bishop Six".

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