Arthur C. Clarke 1917-2008


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14 June 2006
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Arthur C. Clarke passed away in Sri Lanka at age 90. It is superfluous to remember here what he represented both for science and technology and for the image and imagination of the future, which is, BTW, what fuel all the secret projects "movement": a history of the future, or stories of future passed. I propose to celebrate his memory here the way this forum knowns best, with projects. I start with some of discarded variations of "2001" spaceships. First, the "nuclear pulse" original version of Discovery.


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a Sad news

he was one of the Greates SF Writher
his book on Spaceflight are still standart works.

former Chairman of The British Interplanetary Society
he had the Idea for GEO Comsat in 1946 a Utopia today common Standart

his masterpiece "2001 a Space Odyssey" change SF forever.

here my "clean up" drawing of "nuclear pulse" version of Discovery.


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I'll see what I have at home to post tonight
This is the Discovery's first drawing I saw in a book when I was a kid.


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Actually, after one goes past the "technically correct" image of the definitive Discovery design (the one filmed) and looks at specifiical project details, that was the least feasible of all considered. After the nuclear pulse solution was discarded, the assumed propulsion method was switched to a form of gas-core nuclear reactor (called Crevadyne in original documents) driving a MHDM plasma engine with LH fuel. Problem is that in the movie's Discovery there are no radiators for the excess heat generated by the reactor, and the LH tanks are quite implausible (the only thing that could be tanks at all are the angular shaped boxes grappled to the long axis of the spaceship). Actually in the original definitive versions of the Discovery, there were big radiators, but they were discarded due to small theatrical effectiveness. Here is how the Discovery would have look had Kubrick valued technical accuracy more than visual impact.


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This is a mid-term design of the Discovery, the one that best matches the description given by Clarke in the novel. Actually, the novel was written during the shooting of the film, so probably the description fits in what was the thinking about Discovery at that point in time. Note the technically accurate LH tanks and the huge radiators. This design was called the dragonfly and was even experimentally built in polystyrene for shooting tests.


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