Heywood Floyd leads a team of American Astronauts partnered with a crew of cosmonauts to Jupiter to find the mysteriously lost ship, the Discovery one. Heywood Floyd is a father and an astronaut commander.
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The crew discuss what they think their mission will entail. They have been sent out to find the Discovery one, a ships commanded by David Bowman and the insaen computer system Hal 9000.
They have also been tasked with studying the giant monolith that is orbiting Jupiter. The only information they have on this monolith is the final message sent from David Bowman's space suit communication “My God, It's full of stars”.
The Soviets have built a "Sakharov" drive which will get them to Jupiter before the American Discovery Two ship. Scared they will miss out on advantageous secrets the American government assigns Floyd to the Leonov crew.
A Chinese space ship called the Tsien, camouflaged as a space station rockets out of Earth orbit and threatens to beat both the Americans and the Russians to Jupiter.
The Chinese ship is not sustainable so it is generally assumed that the ship will get to Jupiter, but it doesn't have enough fuel or resources to get back. Floyd doesn't believe this tough, and convinces the others that they are planning to refuel at Europa.
The Leonov gets a signal from a Chinese astronaut on the surface of Europa. The Tsien did indeed land on the ices of Europa, but some sort of tentacle emerged from beneath the ice and destroyed the ship. He pleads for help but there is nothing they can do, he doesn't have enough oxygen to survive long enough for them to reach him.
The Leonov has a very difficult time getting into Jupiter orbit, but thanks to quick thinking from Floyd they use the gravity of the moons to their advantage and manage to make it to The Discovery One. One of the Americans assigned to the Leonov Is HAL 9000's creator, Dr. Chandra, He communicates with Hal and gains all of the possible information he can from the Discovery one.
A Russian crew member has a vision of the Monolith opening, and Dave Bowman escaping from it.
Dave Bowman, now an energy being, is sent to Earth by the creators of the monolith to send back information about the planet. Dave uses this mission as his chance to see his family one last time, he brushes his mother's hair right before she dies and then appears in a television to his sister.
The Aliens then send him to analyze the primitive life in the clouds of Jupiter and seas of Europa. The aliens deem the life of Europa worthy of their help.
Dave appears in a vision to Floyd and warns him to leave Jupiter in the next 15 days.
Floyd tries to convince the rest of the crew but they won't believe him until a black hole appears around Jupiter.
Using the Discovery one's telescope the crew learn that the black hole is actually just a very concentrated group of monoliths
The crew sacrifice Hal and the Discovery one to help them get out of Jupiter's gravitational pull.
Once the Leonov has escaped, the monolith transform Jupiter into a star. Dave Bowman appears to HAL so that he can send one last message before being absorbed into the monolith like he was.
HAL sends a message to the Leonov.
ALL THESE WORLDS
ARE YOURS EXCEPT
ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE
Best scene in story:
I enjoyed Dave Bowman revisiting Earth because I thought that it was a really nice, emotional segment of the book.
Opinion about the main character:
I enjoyed Floyd pragmatism but he is a bit boring to be honest.