Happy Birthday Carnival of Space! April is also 40th birthday of the greatest movie of all time, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Friday saw the anniversary screening at the Motion Picture Academy's Samuel Goldwyn theatre in Beverly Hills. The host was none other than TOM HANKS, who loves Space and 2001! He has seen the movie over a dozen times in theatres, which explains his success in the movies. Also attending were Keir Dullea (Bowman) and special effects artist Douglas Trumbull.
This writer had a long talk with Dullea, who looks great after 40 years. He spent many uncomfortable hours high over the set on wires, something he would only do for Stanley Kubrick. In one scene where he enters the centrifuge on one side, then walks around the circumference to join Poole for breakfast. Gary Lockwood was chained upside down on the set while acting like he was sitting. The life of an actor is never easy.
Many of us were inspired by the vision of humans in Space. Men walked on the Moon the following year. The winged Space Shuttle came early, but was not all we dreamed it to be. Today we have a large Space Station under construction, with a commercial habitat planned by Bigelow. Many companies are competing to take passengers into Space. The COTS programme will result in commercial flights bringing cargo and hopefully people to ISS. Though Pan American is no longer with us, the dream of routine commercial travel is finally coming true.
Sometimes life improves on the movies. The Earth described in Clarke's novel was a place of continuing Cold War and 26 nuclear powers. The women we saw were flight attendants and receptionists. In today's reality there are many women in the Space business, from astronauts to scientists. This time it will not just be men on the Moon.