A ship launched the greatest discovery in human history. And then he tried to kill everyone on board. We break it down discovery one.

The American Spaceship discovery one played a central role in the dawning of a new era for the Earth. In the years leading up to 2010 and Jupiter’s transformation into a new star, a single craft helped transform all human potentials.

But aboard the graceful vessel, danger lurked. And discovery one turned out to be as deadly as it was important.

discovery one – Origins

The discovery one was a landmark construction effort for the fledgling space program on Earth in 2001. It had the distinction of being one of the first ships assembled fully in orbit.

Originally the USS discovery one was intended to serve as a survey vessel. Its main mission was to study the 80 moons and the unexplored wonders of the Jovian system. And everything about it was designed for the biggest mission any spacecraft from Earth has ever undertaken.

The ship was over 400 feet long, with a width and height of 55 and 56 feet respectively. Its non-aerodynamic shape was indicative of its zero g construction. It was never intended for atmospheric flight. Instead, the ship featured a massive suite of thermonuclear reactors that powered the entire ship.

A pair of Cavradyne plasma propulsion engines generated thrust. But the pinnacle of design for the discovery one was his carousel. This rotating deck strip generated centrifugal force to simulate the effects of Moon-level gravity in the main living and working area. In an emergency, the carousel can be stopped and its rotation stored in a steering wheel.

The discovery one also contained three single-pilot EVA pods, as well as suspended animation bunks to keep crew members alive during long voyages.

And helping to ensure the vessel ran and stayed on course was the state-of-the-art HAL 9000 central computer.

HAL 9000 central computer

The HAL 9000 was a model of heuristically programmed algorithmic computers. These were sentient artificial general intelligence computers capable of controlling multiple components. In this case, the HAL 9000 was installed on the discovery one.

HAL became operational in 1992 and was capable of a variety of functions including speech, voice recognition, playing chess, automated reasoning and, infamously, lip reading.

HAL was able to reason, but as the decisions strained his reasoning, the logic seemed to break down, leading to deadly conclusions. But none of this would have happened without a change of mission.

From Jupiter to Saturn

After humans make contact with an alien civilization through the discovery of a black monolith found in Tycho Crater, Discovery One assignment has been changed. The ship has gone from exploring Jupiter’s moons to a one-way trip to study potentially historic artifacts believed to lie near Jupiter.

Once there, the astronauts would go into suspended animation (and HAL would oversee the crew) until the still incomplete but much larger discovery two could be sent to pick up resting astronauts.

But the mission was secret. HAL was given mission-specific orders that required him to lie to the crew of the Discovery about their true purpose. After a 1989 psychological experiment simulating fictional alien contact revealed deep xenophobia in each participant, the space program’s superiors ordered HAL to lie to the crew.

HAL, whose overall mission was to relay information accurately, fell into an unconscious conflict within his own internal logic. As the crew noticed more “mistakes” that were actually necessary deceptions, HAL turned on the crew in order to protect and continue his programmed directives.

The discovery oneCaptain David Bowman was able to deactivate HAL and proceeded to route the ship to Jupiter.

That of discovery – Beyond infinity

With HAL disabled and Bowan isolated aboard the Discovery, he had no choice but to head for Jupiter. There, at point L1 between Jupiter and Io, the Discovery encountered a much larger version of the monolith discovered on Tycho.

As the Discovery settled into orbit, Bowman left the ship to examine the monolith and was instead drawn inside.

Meanwhile, back on earth, a rescue mission was underway. After the first Discovery lost communication, the Alexei Leonov, a joint Soviet-American mission was sent to Jupiter. His objectives: to board the Discoveryreactivate the HAL 9000 computer and gather all available data.

As the Leonov surrounded the Discoveryan apparition appearing to be David Bowman appeared, warning the Leonov that he must leave Jupiter because “something wonderful” was about to happen.

The Leonov flees using the Discovery like a kind of booster rocket to escape. In doing so, monoliths engulfed Jupiter, turning it into a new star in the night sky. Eventually dubbed “Lucifer” by the people of Earth, the Discovery was believed destroyed.

However, both Bowman and HAL were preserved and turned into energy beings.