Much of 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s design work was claimed to have been influenced by actual design work being done by NASA and its contractors. The work pod, for example, sure looks a whole lot like this Boeing concept. One major difference between the Boeing and 2001 designs, though, is the unusual recessed window seen on the 2001 pod. I’d never seen anything quite like it… until I saw this 1961 NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center concpet for a large, 10,000-pound pressurized lunar rover. The front window is a dead ringer for the 2001 pod’s window. Additionally, it also bears a slight resemblance to the “moon bus,” especially the cutaway views. I would not be the least bit surprised if the 2001 designers were given drawings of this vehicle, perhaps these drawings, and took a few design elements.
The window would seem to provide a pretty awful view of the terrain ahead. Still, it’s kind of a neat design. Max speed, 9 mph, range about 280 miles and mission duration of 30 days with a crew of two.