Three million years later and the fruits of those lessons are starting to show. Space stations wheel about the planet far below, space travel is common and despite differences the nations of Earth can and do work in peace. Then the discovery on the Moon, rocks those who find it. A black ‘monolith’, shaped into the ratios 1 to 4 to 9. Man is no longer alone. A sudden burst of static and noise is heard when the monolith is touched then it resumes its stately silence of millennia. The destination of the burst – Jupiter.
A mission to Jupiter is mounted to find out where the burst was sent, since despite all efforts the enigmatic monolith on the Moon remains silent and imperviable. A crew of six is sent. Three experts asleep in hibernation, two crew to make the journey and awaken the sleepers at journey’s end and HAL the 9000 series computer. Heart mind and soul of the ship Discovery on the lonley but beautiful journey to the fifth planet. For Dave Bowman and Frank Poole the silence is a respite but contact from home is a continual, welcome pleasure. Soon a fault is predicted in the main communications antenna array, the sole link to the songs of distant Earth. Twice it is fixed with the latter attempt resulting in a devastating fatality.
Alone the remaining crewman must continue his mission to distant Jupiter, with the sleepers dead due to a malfunction and HAL disconnected. Finally Discovery begins to orbit the giant Jupiter and the rest of the mission can begin to take place. Once again a surprise is found there. A massive black, inky shape hangs in orbit between Jupiter and the inner moon Io. The ratio of the shape’s sides to one another: 1 to 4 to 9. The first three perfect square numbers. It is another monolith, many times the size of the one on the Moon. The last remaining crewman must investigate to complete the mission. His last recorded, haunting words are ‘My God… It’s full of stars’