2001: A Space Odyssey Wiki
2001: A Space Odyssey Wiki

Jupiter is the setting of anomalous events in Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey series.


In the 2001 novel, Project Jupiter[note 1] is introduced as a program to send the first manned spacecraft to Jupiter.[1] In the film adaptions, the spacraft named Discovery gets trapped in Io’s orbit. Before year 2010, a space race ensues to recover the craft. Events in 2010 lead Jupiter to become a mini-sun, called Lucifer, promoting extraterrestrial lifeforms on its moon Europa.

Project Jupiter[]


Around 1993, Project Jupiter was being developed by the USAA. This involved construction of the Discovery. Its mission was to be the first manned round trip to Jupiter. The program ran for five years before its first launch about the turn of 1999. Discovery’s spacetravel would take a little over two years to get to the Jovian planet.[1]

A last minute directive, sometime after the 1999 launch date, mandates that the Discovery investigate an anomalous signal in Saturn’s moon system. Upon arriving to the Jovian system, a redirect would be programmed to conduct a flyby of Jupiter, in order to Gravity assist the Discovery spacecraft to one of Saturn’s moons that had eminated the signal.[1] In the film adaption, once the Discovery arrives to the Jovian system, they meet the mission objective, in space, in the proximity of Jupiter's moon Io.

By 2001, events surrounding the Discovery mission was spinning out of control, and the USAA was dissolved and absorbed by the NCA (National Council of Astronautics) as early as November of the same year.[note 2]

Jupiter Mission[]


By 2010, the Leonov, a Russian-built spacecraft with a rotating segment, was used for a joint Russian/American Jupiter Mission to the Jovian system. The purpose of this mission was to recover the American Discovery spacecraft and, if possible, set its course back to Earth; as well as locate and investigate the “alien artifact”.[2] The Russian crew referred to it as zagadka (Russian for 'enigma').

During the mission in 2010, Jupiter's density is increased by the monoliths, causing the planet to collapse upon itself and become a mini-star called Lucifer.


  1. Project Jupiter is an official canon term used by Arthur C. Clarke in his novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey, in Chapter 15, Discovery.
  2. One of the first known NCA reports was dated December 9, 2001 by Heywood Floyd, who gave his NCA Discovery Mission Report seen in 2010: The Year We Make Contact.