Thursday, December 28, 2017
Discovery in Earth Orbit
Here from 2001: A Space Odyssey is Discovery being prepared for its trip to Jupiter. Perhaps the other astronauts (already in suspended animation, and who were trained separately from Dr. Poole and Dr. Bowman) are being taken from the shuttle to the ship? Or possibly they are moving the pods from the shuttle to the ship? Transferring the astronauts and stowing the pods aboard the ship would have been among the last steps before departure. Imagine HAL finding himself in this situation, monitoring the preparations, and evaluating the psychology of the men with whom he is working. Very likely he was already anticipating Jupiter, and his, rather than the human race's, ascension to the next level of consciousness. Considering the situation, he might very easily construe that it was his destiny, rather than humanity's, to enter the stargate and make contact with that cosmic consciousness that was, compared to humanity's, closer in kind and purpose to his own.
It is a stimulating image. I think, however, Discovery would have been constructed at a higher orbit, or in one of the Earth-Moon Liberation Points, in order to save fuel for that time when Dr. Bowman depressed the button, and Discovery sprang away for Jupiter.
(And I apologize to readers hoping for more on moral philosophy. Soon enough.)