The "2001: A Space Odyssey" Quiz


By: Mike Poteet

4 Min Quiz

Image: The Movie DB

About This Quiz

Think you have what it takes to survive the journey? Step into our world and test your knowledge of Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke's "ultimate trip" and its world.

What is the name of the Discovery’s onboard computer?

“HAL” is an acronym for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer. Clarke insisted the acronym was not a parody of IBM (H is one letter before I, and so on).


How does HAL learn of Bowman and Poole’s plan to deactivate him, if necessary?

The film communicates HAL’s ability to lip-read by quickly intercutting between the astronaut’s mouths and HAL’s red lens.


What is David Bowman’s final transmission in the novel version of “2001”?

Bowman says this about the Monolith in the Jupiter system as he enters it. The line isn’t in “2001” the movie, but was recorded for use as a key plot point in the movie of “2010.”


Which of these Arthur C. Clarke short stories served as primary inspiration for “2001”?

In “The Sentinel,” astronauts discover an alien artifact that was buried on Earth’s Moon millions of years ago. Clarke suggested using the story when director Stanley Kubrick approached him about making “the proverbial good science fiction movie.”


What wild animal attacks the group of ape-men in the film’s first sequence?

The ape-man the leopard attacks is its trainer, Terry Duggan, in man-ape costume. The “zebra” the leopard is shown to have killed was actually a dead horse painted to look like a zebra.


“2001” the novel gives what name to the prehistoric man whom the Monolith teaches?

London pantomime artist Dan Richter played Moon-Watcher. He also choreographed the film’s entire “Dawn of Man” sequence.


What breakthrough does Moon-Watcher make shortly after his encounter with the Monolith?

Moon-Watcher discovers how to use an antelope’s bone as a cudgel. Shortly, he kills another ape-man.


To what sight does the film cut immediately after the ape-man tosses a bone into the air?

According to Clarke, the famous “three million year jump cut” goes from the bone used as a weapon to what was going to be established as an orbital nuclear platform, although the finished film does not make this fact clear.


In the film, what airline-turned-spaceline does Dr. Floyd travel in order to reach the moon?

Pan Am declared bankruptcy in 1991, a decade short of the movie’s “Pan Am space clipper,” the Orion III.


In the film, what piece of classical music underscores Dr. Floyd’s trip to space?

Kubrick decided to use pre-existing orchestral music instead of a score composed by Alex North (whose credits included “Spartacus” and “A Streetcar Named Desire”). North’s score for “2001” was eventually released in 1993.


What does Dr. Floyd inspect very carefully during his trip to the space station?

According to the posted instructions, the space clipper’s bathroom also includes a “sonoshower.” NASA engineer Frederick Ordway III, a consultant to the film, wrote the lengthy directions.


What security measure does Dr. Floyd undergo when he arrives at the space station?

Texas Instruments developed the first modern, accurate voice biometrics engine in 1976.


Whom does Dr. Floyd call from the space station?

Floyd calls to wish her a happy birthday. Director Stanley Kubrick’s own daughter, Vivian, played “Squirt.”


What rumor has Dr. Smyslov heard about why Clavius Base is non-responsive?

Noted British comedic actor Leonard Rossiter played the small part of Andrei Smyslov.


Where on the Moon has the Monolith been discovered?

Although Dr. Floyd arrives at Clavius Base, the Monolith was discovered near Tycho Crater; hence its designation “TMA-1” (Tycho Magnetic Anomaly).


What happens as the scientists gather in front of TMA-1 for a photograph?

We learn later in the film, along with David Bowman, that the Monolith’s signal was directed at the Jupiter system.


In the film, what is the name of the spaceship that undertakes a mission to Jupiter?

Clarke named the fictional spaceship after Captain Robert Scott’s sailing vessel, the RSS Discovery, which the author would visit when it moore in London. One of NASA’s space shuttle orbiters was also named Discovery.


What planet is the Discovery’s destination in the novel version of “2001”?

According to Vincent LoBrutto’s biography of Kubrick, the director decided on Saturn as the Discovery’s destination after the film’s effects team spent three months readying shots of Jupiter. Ultimately, Kubrick changed his mind again.


What does David Bowman sketch while aboard the Discovery?

The hibernacula in which the astronauts sleep look, rather prophetically, like sarcophagi (ancient Egyptian mummy cases).


Which of the following astronauts is not in hibernation during the ship’s outward journey?

Dr. Chandra was not a member of the Discovery crew, but was (in the novel, and in the book and film of 2010) the scientist who instructed HAL 9000.


What does Frank Poole tell a BBC interviewer is the only difference between being in hibernation and being asleep?

The interviewer points out another difference: The hibernating astronauts breathe only once a minute.


What’s the last move Poole makes in his losing chess match against the ship's computer?

Kubrick, an avid chess player, based the game on an actual chess match from 1910 (Roesch vs. Schlage, Hamburg).


What actor voiced HAL 9000?

Kubrick originally cast Balsam (best known as Detective Arbogast in director Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”) as HAL’s voice before deciding the actor sounded “too colloquially American.”


In the movie, who does HAL say was his instructor?

Although Dr. Chandra is HAL’s instructor in the novel of “2001” and in the book and film of “2010,” the name was changed to “Langley” in the “2001” film.


Frank’s parents send him a transmission marking what occasion?

In the novel, HAL interrupts Frank’s birthday to report bad news “Sorry to interrupt the festivities, but we have a problem.”


What impending equipment failure does HAL report that prompts Bowman’s first EVA (extravehicular activity)?

Once the AE-35 unit is aboard Discovery, Bowman and Poole can find no fault with it, increasing their suspicions of HAL.


How does Frank Poole die?

Dave leaves the ship in another pod to recover Frank’s body, but must abandon the body in order to re-enter the Discovery.


What does HAL suggest Dave do while Dave is disconnecting him?

HAL attempts to reassure Dave, “I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission and I want to help you.”


What song does HAL sing as Bowman disables it?

Also known as “A Bicycle Built for Two,” “Daisy Bell” was the first song by a computer in real life, the IBM 704 at Bell Labs in 1961.


Where does David Bowman find himself at the end of his fantastic trip through time and space?

Clarke’s novel indicates the aliens behind the Monolith prepared the hotel room on the basis of transmissions intercepted from Earth.


For which of the following Academy Awards was “2001” not nominated?

Of four nominations, “Best Effects” was the film’s only win, and Kubrick’s only Academy Award. “Best Makeup” was not a category; however, John Chambers received an honorary award for his work on “Planet of the Apes,” despite the realistic ape masks and costumes designed by Stuart Freeborn for “2001.”


In the sequel novel and film “2010”, what happens to Jupiter?

In the “2010” novel, the new star is named “Lucifer,” which literally means “Light-bringer.”


Which of the following noted actors does not appear in the film version of “2010”?

Scheider plays Heywood Floyd in “2010.” (William Sylvester played the character in “2001”). Making a brief cameo in “2010” as a man on a bench outside the White House is author Arthur C. Clarke himself.


In Clarke’s novel “2061: Odyssey Three” (1987), what is the destination of the spaceship “Universe”?

The 1986 approach of Halley’s Comet inspired Clarke to write this third novel in the Odyssey sequence.


How does Frank Poole return to life in Clarke’s novel “3001: The Final Odyssey” (1997)?

The novel also reveals that HAL and David Bowman have become a single entity, “Halman.”


Explore More Quizzes

About Zoo

Our goal at is to keep you entertained in this crazy life we all live.

We want you to look inward and explore new and interesting things about yourself. We want you to look outward and marvel at the world around you. We want you to laugh at past memories that helped shape the person you’ve become. We want to dream with you about all your future holds. Our hope is our quizzes and articles inspire you to do just that.

Life is a zoo! Embrace it on