Sunday, February 24, 2013
The Moonbus From 2001 A Space Odyssey
The Moonbus is a fictional spacecraft from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. The vehicle is a small, low altitude rocket craft meant to be used for quick transportation of passengers and cargo above the surface of the Moon.
A moonbus is a hypothetical small, light-duty VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) spacecraft designed primarily for short-range low-altitude point-to-point ferrying of people and supplies on a moon. A moonbus "flies" over terrain by regulating downward thrusters to counter the moon's gravity while using horizontal thrusters or angling downward thrust to move over the moon's surface. While plausible, this seems to be more trouble than it would be worth in actual practice. Given the moon's low gravity, it would be far easier to simply plot sub-orbital trajectories which would be far safer and require less supervision from pilots. Currently no practical moonbuses exist for lack of applicability. The first specific depiction of a moonbus appeared in the science fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968).