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Why does the Discovery ship from 2001: ASO need an airlock?

  1. Dec 8, 2014 #1
    I was wondering if this is a mistake in the movie.

    discoveryPodBay1.jpg
    Notice how those pod doors open directly into space. What happens to the air when those doors open?
    Is it still in the realm of possibility that this room functions as an airlock? Why the need for the second smaller airlock then?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 8, 2014 #2

    Doug Huffman

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    Deus ex machina drama! Why does the pod bay have a 'down' while not in the rotating living section? There used to be a huge file of 2001 stinkers floating around.
     
  4. Dec 8, 2014 #3
    Well I always assumed they were using grip shoes in those sections.
     
  5. Dec 8, 2014 #4

    DaveC426913

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    It's not a mistake.

    You want an airlock to be only as large as it needs to be. They necessarily waste some air in use (because you can't extract all the air in a volume in a finite amount of time)

    You would NOT want to be evacuating the entire pod bay every single time a crewman did an excursion, you'd be wasting air and time and power. (And the suits have a limited supply of all those things.)

    On the other hand, there's little point in the pods having their own airlock, since the airlock would be similar in size to the pod bay, as far as evacuation goes.
     
  6. Dec 8, 2014 #5
    Same reason most dwellings come with multiple doors. So you have more than one way to get in and out of the place.
     
  7. Dec 8, 2014 #6

    DaveC426913

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    Indeed. Presumably, that's what those black carpets are.
     
  8. Dec 8, 2014 #7

    DaveC426913

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    Yes, there's certainly the advantage of redundancy, but I like your analogy for my idea of two functions:

    Imagine if your house only had 3 garage doors, big enough for your car, but you used it for the front door as well. Press the button, let the 1/2 hp motor kick to start the door opening, wait 30 seconds till it's open, walk outside, now start the closing process again. Now imagine having to do that while off-the-grid, where the only power you have is what you take with you, and what you collect. Becomes pretty obvious why you'd want two types of exit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  9. Dec 8, 2014 #8
    I agree that it's not a mistake, but the part that's bothering me the most is the size of the room and how wasteful it would be as an airlock.

    That's what I don't agree with. Each pod could have it's own little airlock just slightly bigger that the pod itself.

    I guess what I really wanted to know (since I don't know much about airlocks) is if a design like this is fine, or if it's kind of a design flaw.
     
  10. Dec 8, 2014 #9

    DaveC426913

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    How would you do maintenance on them?

    If what they wanted was a pod without any way to access it from the ship, they would simply mount the pods on the outside of the ship and only expose the pod's hatch inside.

    So that's not what they have set up here. The pods are clearly meant to be maintained in a shirtsleeve environment.

    Not mention the fact that this bay also serves as a staging area for donning and doffing their spacesuits, and a dozen other functions. You can't put in an unlimited number of walls to make an unlimited number of rooms.

    Analogously, everything on a sailboat must serve triple-duty or it doesn't belong. You can't afford the space for a bench that does not also serve as a berth and a navigation station. Someone looking at the interior of a sailboat would have to know the design intent for that boat, to determine if it met them.

    Any ship design is going to incorporate a host of competing needs for space and functionality. They can't all be met 100%. It's impossible, even in principle. (The only way to satisfy all requirements 100% is to have unlimited volume and unlimited mass, but those too have requirements).

    As a software designer of large projects, I can tell you that it is almost impossible to determine if a given feature is poorly-designed simply by eyeballing it, You must have access to all requirements to be able to assess a feature's efficacy.


    All that being said, there is most certainly a large amount of wasted space here. Look at any real spaceship or airplane. Every available nook and cranny is taken up. Expansive rooms are always the case in movie vehicles. You need the room to get the right shots.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  11. Dec 8, 2014 #10
    I guess it's true. We can't really judge without factoring in all the variables.
     
  12. Dec 8, 2014 #11

    Danger

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    I can see myself agreeing with just about everything that all of you have said, which is confusing and more that a little annoying. I can't remember much about it, because the last time that I saw the movie was when my high-school presented it in the gym as a treat for the student body in '72. I'll have to watch it again before commenting about the airlock situation.
     
  13. Dec 9, 2014 #12
    I've always wonder about this. There are no shortage of films and TV series depicting the cramped quarters of naval warships and subs. You'd think volumetrically smaller set pieces are cheaper to build, but I guess there's a cost associated with pulling them apart and rearranging them for the cinematographer as well.
     
  14. Dec 9, 2014 #13

    DaveC426913

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    Films looking for big profits don't get them by cheaping out on sets. They build whole towns for films.
     
  15. Dec 9, 2014 #14

    Danger

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    Back in the day, equipment was so bulky, heavy, and power-consumptive that most everything depicting an indoor situation was done on "flying sets". For instance, in a Star Trek (original) scene where the angle is over Kirk's shoulder toward the main viewer on the bridge, Spock's or Uhura's or similar "station" was physically wheeled out of place and the camera was positioned where it had been. It was actually cheaper then to build a flying set of a house interior than it was to try filming inside a real house. Modern technology has pretty much reversed that. (They also used to do "day-for-night" shooting, wherein they filmed a scene in daylight with a blue/green filter over the lens to make it appear to be a night shot.)
     
  16. Dec 10, 2014 #15

    DaveC426913

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    I was going to mention this, but you are referring to TV shows, with TV show budgets and intermittent shooting schedules. That's a whole different can of wax than how they do it for big budget movies.
     
  17. Dec 10, 2014 #16

    Danger

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    True. I was failing to make that distinction. 2001 had a honkin' huge budget for its time.
     
  18. Dec 11, 2014 #17
    From one point of view it's amazing that 2001 was as well integrated as it is since to hear Arthur C. Clarke talk about it, he found Stanley Kubrick to be a difficult taskmaster. However ultimately, perhaps much as Lennon & McCartney produced arguably their best work during their years of collaboration/conflict rather than as solo acts, 2001 may remain the quintessential hard Science Fiction movie largely because of that conflict. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they argued heatedly about the Pod Bay's design
     
  19. Dec 18, 2014 #18
    isn't that entire room in fact the airlock? look at the observation window in the back as well as the bulkhead type doors leading out behind the control pannel.

    I'd have to say that room is the air lock which as was pointed out a huge waste of air every time they deploy the pods but nothing like star wars who's landing bays would use the volume of air found on entire planets to fill.
     
  20. Dec 18, 2014 #19

    Bandersnatch

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    I believe they had magic forcefield airlocks keeping the air in. You know, those glowing lights around the bay exits.
    Also, there is a gaseous medium filling space, and considering how the heroes once landed on an asteroid and didn't bother with spacesuits, that medium might just as well be breathable air.
     
  21. Dec 18, 2014 #20

    DaveC426913

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    ?? They evacuate the airlock before opening the doors.


    They landed in the belly of a beast. Partial pressure in its gut.

    Admittedly, this merely moves the fantastical element from 'why didn't they explode?' to 'how does such a beast come to be?'.

    And, I suppose - since the crew used the Millennium Falcon's main ramp instead of an airlock - 'what gas has the ship's formerly-breathable air now been replaced with?'
     
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