This is part 3 of 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY old still 33 years to go. Quantum POP analyzes Part 3 and 4 of the movie Jupiter and beyond and infinity. Topics include; Manned space travel beyond earth and moon, suspended animation, and artificial intelligence self-realization. BUT DON”T WORRY! It’ll be FUN.
Now in the movie we no sooner hear that ear-piercing signal being transmitted from our moon monolith to Jupiter, than we find ourselves on a mission to Jupiter to track it down and find out what it all means. No one tells you a whole lot in the movie 2001, so we don’t even know if mankind has been to Mars at all yet before we find ourselves off to Jupiter. But be that as it may, in terms of our story I mean think about it. I you found a monolith made by an intelligent self-aware species planted on your moon pointing a signal to one of Jupiter’s moons you would want to go there if you could. That kind of thing makes microbes on Mars look like Tinker Toys.
Now as far as we can see as of this earth date, we probably will not be sending anyone off to explore Jupiter’s moons any time soon. At the rate we are going it may not even be in another 33 years. The chances are much more likely we get to Mars in 33 years and if the Mars mission proponents have their way a lot sooner than that. When we do go to Jupiter though it will probably not be to land there but rather to visit some of Jupiter’s moons. And this planet has a lot of them. It even has provisional moons. It has moons that orbit its moons. The NASA page located here; http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Jupiter&Display=Sats on Jupiter’s moons lists 50 moons and 14 Provisional Moons.
Here are some Jupiter moon highlights. Four larger primary moons called the Galilean satellites. One of them Europa, may have life. Why? Because it has tons of water. More than earth even and there are some potentially volcanically warmed parts of water where again, potentially, life as we know it may exist. Another highlight we reprint from the NASA page as follows.
Three of the moons influence each other in an interesting way. Io is in a tug-of-war with Ganymede and Europa, and Europa’s orbital period (time to go around Jupiter once) is twice Io’s period, and Ganymede’s period is twice that of Europa. In other words, every time Ganymede goes around Jupiter once, Europa makes two orbits and Io makes four orbits. The moons all keep the same face towards Jupiter as they orbit, meaning that each moon turns once on its axis for every orbit around Jupiter.
Why is that? It almost sounds mechanical. Might be worth a look sometime.
The spaceship design that Stanley Kubrick thinks that we should have already built by now to go to Jupiter, sadly will not even be ready for production by the time we go to Mars.if we stick to the NASA plan as it is envisioned today.
The jupiter ship in the story is very long. It is constructed of modules connected together. Each module exists to fulfill the needs of each part of the mission. Food modules, science experiment and various instrument modules. In the story we are only concerned with the onboard earth to ship communications system module, a critical module indeed as we soon learn.
The spherical front of the space craft houses the crews quarters and the only place on board where there is any gravity.
The crew compartment spins of course like the wheel earlier in the movie creating that gravity.
The craft;s mission objectives, coordinates, ,functionality and data are all handled by the HAL-9000 computer who one learns is affectionately called Hal. Just when you think you can love him as only a human can love a computer, he glitches.The glitch occurs as a result of the mission objectives coming into conflict with a new mission directive that creates computational corrections in the overall computer program. You see, the mission was for the area of Jupiter to be explored with the humans in control and Hal there to assure all possible means of mission success. All possible means. The new directive however left out the humans on board when it came to knowledge of the monolith. Suddenly, contacting the species that created the monolith, became mission priority one. Hal is the only one on board who knows about the monolith. Even though the humans undoubtably want to find aliens since they are out of the loop they may be a liability to the mission without all the facts only Hal could process. So to Hal, mission success means Hal must not be disconnected.
Hal’s all-seeing eye reads the astronauts lips as they propose shutting him down if he is proven to be wrong about the communications module malfunctions Hal is predicting. The astronauts now in Hal’s twisted mechanical mind, become a possible impediment to the success of the mission. This then allows Kubrick and Clarke to introduce the concept of machine singularity. the singularity that Hal then embodies triggers the event horizon scenario long predicted in theoretical science circles. What does this mean? Here is a great explanation from the Singularity Institute. Event horizon: All social and technological progress thus far has come from human brains. When technology creates entirely new kinds of intelligence, this will cause the future to be stranger than we can imagine. So there is an’event horizon’ in the future beyond which our ability to predict the future rapidly breaks down. Well if you are a nube at this point and haven’t yet seen the movie all I can tell you is mayhem ensues. In the course of that mayhem there unfolds a great story ending of science fantasy that invites you to become a philosopher.
Some other science theory and fact that we love. The crew is in hibernation, frozen in suspended animation as it were. Suspended animation is theoretically possible however Arthur C Clarke’s use of it in the story and his projection that it might be applied to humans by the year 2001 is highly optimistic and as of this earth date, still only used successfully for short periods of time on small mammals and with mixed results.
One more quick science element Kubrick and Clarke use masterfully in this movie as a story telling device is the concept of space as a silent, vast void. Anyone growing up in a post Star Wars world probably thinks that if anything explodes in space all the aliens hear it. But they don’t. Not if they have ears like ours. When the explosive bolts go off in the 2001 movie you do not hear a thing until the airlock fills up with air. We begin to hear sound from the energy produced, as the chamber slowly fills with an atmosphere. Only then do the waves have a substance they can resonate off of, to produce vibrations that the ear can actually hear. GREAT STUFF and really dramatic.
The end of the movie is an exercise anyone can participate in who wants to theorize on the subject of quantum physics. In this new mathematical world, time and space exist only as a framework for possibility. They are a tool of the creative process but not a hard fast rule. So what does that mean if you are an artist with the mastery of Kubrick? It means break out the surrealism. Our human hero is invited in and becomes the guest of the aliens he was so earnestly and steadfastly motivated to pursue. The result is a more radicalized way of assimilating his experiential input. A place where each moment for him becomes is an end unto itself, as he perceives his old age, death and rebirth as a process in a universe of infinite processes..