Baltimore fans of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” who don’t have their own HAL computer or access to a giant black monolith have only to venture to the Inner Harbor for a close encounter with the landmark 1968 sci-fi flick.
A large-scale model of the Orion III spaceplane from the Oscar-winning movie is visiting the Maryland Science Center, where it will remain on display until February 2017.
In “2001,” the Orion III is operated by Pan Am (a real airline that went out of business in 1991) and used to ferry passengers between earth and Space Station V. (This is not the ship that the unexpectedly resourceful HAL would later commandeer; that would be the Discovery One.)
The model, built to a scale of approximately 1/35, is part of the science center’s SpaceLink exhibit, where it rests among models of several real-life spacecraft. The exhibit also contains many interactive components, including spacesuits and planetary rovers, plus video feeds from NASA.
What the Orion III model lacks in reality it makes up for in inspiration, said Abby Goodlaxson, the science center’s public programs manager.
“The Orion III model is capturing the imaginations of many of our visitors,” she said in a news release. “Displaying it alongside our models of real NASA spacecraft has sparked conversations about the future of space travel and the relationship between science fiction and real emerging technologies.”
The model was supplied by the Museum of Science Fiction, a group hoping to open such an attraction in the Washington area within the next two to three years.