“2001” Then and Now

By Keith Cowing
December 31, 2000
Filed under


The year 2001 has now swept around our planet. For many people interested in space exploration the film “2001: A Space Odyssey” has served as both a prediction of- and a stimulus to create the future for more than a generation. Now it is here. Over the coming weeks SpaceRef will be taking a detailed look at the film and its impact on how we both expected – and have actually built – our future in space.

What do you think? If you have any comments you’d like to share please send them to 2001@spaceref.com, Please tell us what you do (aerospace engineer, student, etc.) and where you do it – including your website address. We’ll post your comments with your name and affiliation unless you ask us not to. Comments are subject to editing by SpaceRef.

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Upcoming Events regarding “2001: A Space Odyssey”

  • 7 February 2001: Arthur C. Clarke Day Symposium at the National Air and Space Museum

  • 7 February 2001: Arthur C. Clarke Day Celebration at the Newseum

  • 19 March 2001: International Conference: Sri Lankan Skies and Sir Arthur – a 2001 Odyssey, The Sri Lanka Planetarium

    Recent Stories and Internet Resources regarding “2001: A Space Odyssey”

  • 8 January 2001: Whither The Tech Odyssey?, ZD Net

    “So where did Clarke go wrong in his projections? Where are the permanent moon bases? The giant wheel of a space station? The nuclear powered spacecraft and cryogenic chambers for deep-space missions? Most curious of all, where’s the awesome artificial intelligence of Hal, the self-conscious, homicidal HAL 9000 supercomputer from Urbana, Ill., who controlled all aspects of the mission to Saturn (Jupiter in the movie)?”

  • 5 January 2001: Duck Island on Green Lake is new home to monolith, Seattle Times

    “A man claiming to be one of the people responsible for the mysterious monolith that first appeared, then disappeared from Magnuson Park says it was stolen from that spot before it surfaced again yesterday at Green Lake, on a small, remote bird sanctuary called Duck Island. “

  • 4 January 2001: Monolith Vanishes Mysteriously, as It Arrived, Los Angeles Times

    “Dawn of the new year, 2001: A mysterious steel monolith appears on a windswept hilltop in a public park. Its orientation is the line between sunrise and sunset. Its dimensions: 1 foot by 4 feet by 9 feet–the square of the first three prime numbers. Then, as suddenly and inexplicably as it appeared, the monolith vanishes.”

  • 4 January 2001: Mysterious monolith marks 2001, BBC

    “A black, steel monolith nearly three metres high has mysteriously appeared in a park in the American city of Seattle. The unmarked sculpture, planted on a grassy knoll in Magnuson Park, seems to have been put in place on New Year’s Eve.”

    2001 and Arthur C. Clarke Resources

  • Happy Birthday, Hal, Wired

  • Arthur C. Clarke On Life, Wired

  • The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation

  • The Arthur C. Clarke of Foundation the U.S.

  • HAL’s Legacy, MIT

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey – Underman’s 2001

  • The 2001 Internet Resource Archive

  • 2 January 2001: “New year, New frontiers”: January issue of Greatest Escapes to feature special literary
    sneak preview, photos by Christopher Ondaatje and great new stories
    , PR Newswire, Yahoo

    “As the Greatest Escapes Travel Webzine moves into its fourth year online, its decided to do so with a bang. The January 2001 issue of the popular publication will include an excerpt from the soon-to-be-published Literary Trips 2: Following in the Footsteps of Fame, taken from Victoria Brooks’ story on the legendary Sir Arthur C. Clarke and his Sri Lanka. It includes exclusive photographs taken by
    noted writer and photographer Christopher Ondaatje and original material based on visits with Clarke.”

  • 2 January 2001: Sci-Fi Author Clarke’s DNA Set for Space Odyssey, Reuters, Yahoo

    “Arthur C. Clarke will not be on board himself and the timing might be off by a couple of years, but a message penned by the science fiction writer and a DNA sample extracted from his hair will set off on a space odyssey in 2003.”

  • 2 January 2001: Arts Council To Honor Actor Dullea, AP, Yahoo

    “FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) – The Fairfield Arts Council thinks it’s fitting in 2001 to honor actor Keir Dullea, who starred in ”2001: A Space Odyssey” more
    than three decades ago. “

  • 1 January 2001: 2001: it’s about life, but not as we know it, The Times (UK)

    “There was only one point where I actually laughed out loud and that was when there was a Newsnight-type interview at mission control after the spacecraft had left for Jupiter. It was conducted by a man from something called BBC12 and I do not think Jeremy Paxman has anything to worry about “

  • 1 January 2001: The Future That Wasn’t, ABC News

    “GAIL COLLINS: The definitive thing about 2001, when you saw it back then, was how pretty it was. But it was also really boring. It seems so realistic because the idea of something becoming more efficient and more boring at the same time seemed like the way we were obviously going to go. (Clip from “2001: Space Odyssey” shown)”

  • 1 January 2001: Space Travel: Barely Reaching Orbit, Newsweek

    Granted, “2001” got the part about a space station right, sort of: the real International Space Station began hosting its first long-term crew in November. But the pioneering trio doesn’t have the luxury of artificial gravity, as provided by the centrifugal force in Arthur C. Clarke’s spinning version, much less a barbershop, drugstore, movie theater or souvenir shops.”

  • 1 January 2001: Computers: Why Hal Never Happened, Newsweek

  • 1 January 2001: 2001, for Real, New York Times

    “… we should gauge our accomplishments [in space] by how many people take no notice at all …”

  • 1 January 2001: Post-Polio Syndrome Affects Author, AP, Yahoo

    “The year 2001 got off to a painful start for science fiction writer
    Arthur C. Clarke, who spent New Year’s Day resting.”

  • 31 December 2000: 2001 Ain’t What It Used to Be, Washington Post

    “For all that, “2001” gets one thing quite right, and it’s not trivial. At the millennium, we are certainly preoccupied with technology and its implications. The movie turns out to be prescient in one of its central themes: Technology is empowering, but it also bites back.

  • 30 December 2000: Is there anyone out there?, The Irish Times

    “2001: A Space Odyssey held out the promise of travel into deep space. But as the year itself finally dawns, the reality could not be more different. Leo Enright compares the film’s vision of the future with current space missions and looks at the answers science offers to the perennial question: are we truly alone?”

  • 30 December 2000: 2001: Back to the Future in One Giant Leap, The Times (UK)

  • 30 December 2000: On the eve of 2001, the story behind an odyssey that baffled a generation, by Arthur C. Clarke, The Times (London)

    “Now that the year 2001 is almost upon us, interest in the movie is stronger than ever. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (of which I am a patron, with Sigourney Weaver) recently launched 2001: An Ape Odyssey in the hope of saving our surviving relatives. And Nasa has named its forthcoming Mars Mission 2001: A Mars Odyssey.”

  • 28 December 2000: Clarke: Wheeling Boldly Into 2001, AP, Wired

    “Clarke wrote 2001 on a typewriter. Now, armed with half a dozen computers, he spends hours each day using e-mail to keep in touch with friends, colleagues and fans. “I don’t know where half my friends are physically on the planet and it doesn’t matter,” he says. “

  • 28 December 2000: Kubrick’s ‘2001’ Effects Precocious, AP, Yahoo

    “Marc Rayman, project manager of Deep Space 1 at the Pasadena laboratory, saw ”2001” at age 11 and found it “wonderful, though like everybody else, I didn’t understand the ending.” ”`2001′ tells us more about 1968 than it does about the future,” said Rayman, technical adviser on the 1984 sequel, ”2010.”

  • 26 December 2001: Once mocked, “2001” now a classic, MSNBC

  • 27 December 2000: Arthur C.Clarke says 2001 is “real” party time, Reuters, Yahoo

    “Clarke thanked late film director Stanley Kubrick, who made a movie based on “2001 A Space Odyssey,” for the almost universally acknowledged association between himself and the year 2001. “Perhaps no other year before or since 1984 has been awaited with such eager anticipation (and I like to think, with far less apprehension),” Clarke said, referring to George Orwell’s book “1984,” which was written in the 1940s and predicted a grim, totalitarian world by 1984.”

  • 26 December 2001: 2000’s oddities, 2001’s odysseys, MSNBC

  • 26 December 2000: Essay: On the Eve of 2001, the Future Is Not Quite What It Used to Be, New York Times

    “In terms of prediction, the preliminary scorecard does not look good for Messrs Kubrick and Clarke. Forget the Pan Am label that adorns the space shuttle in the movie or the Bell Telephone logo on the picture phone. Forget the pillbox hats on the exclusively female flight attendants and the luxuriously empty flights themselves. Needless to say, there are no colonies on the Moon in the real year 2001. And current space stations more resemble ratty dungeons than the loungelike spaces in “2001.”

  • SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.