Blogging the Bookshelf

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Backstory – “2001: A Space Odyssey” – Arthur C Clarke

April 8th, 2011 · No Comments · Culture, Sci-Fi, Science

The Apollo astronauts had already seen the film when they left for the Moon. The crew of Apollo 8, who at Christmas 1968 became the first men ever to set eyes upon the lunar Farside, told me that they had been tempted to radio back the discovery of a large, black monolith: alas, discretion prevailed… And there were later, almost uncanny, instances of nature imitating art. Strangest of all was the saga of Apollo 13 in 1970. As a good opening, the Command Module, which houses the crew, had been christened Odyssey. Just before the explosion of the oxygen tank which caused the mission to be aborted, the crew had been playing Richard Strauss’ Zarathustra theme, now universally identified with the movie. Immediately after the loss of power, Jack Swigert radioed back to Mission Control: “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” The words that Hal used to Frank Poole on a similar occasion were: “Sorry to interrupt the festivities, but we have a problem.”

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