Skip to main content

The iconic spacesuit from 2001: A Space Odyssey is up for auction

“I’m sorry, Dave, I just can’t afford that.”

That’s one possible response to the news that the iconic spacesuit worn by David Bowman (or, in reality, actor Keir Dullea) in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 classic sci-fi movie 2001: A Space Odyssey is coming up for auction this month — at an economic downturn-challenging estimated price of $200,000 to $300,000.

The suit is part of Julien’s Auctions’ “Legends and Explorers” auction, due to take place July 17-18 in Beverly Hills, California. The “near complete spacesuit” comes in a lot featuring an MGM shipping crate, boots, and helmet. The costume has been kept in a special climate-controlled storage unit since it was last sold at auction in 1999.

The suit was repainted several times during production, presumably to save on the cost of creating multiple suits unnecessarily. (So consider yourself lucky that you’re not having to shell out for several different $200,000 spacesuit props!) The base color is white, while subsequent layers are yellow, green, and then white again over the top. The suit’s reflective material also mirrored the movie’s lighting, which explains why it looks red and gold in certain images from the movie.

Space suit 2001 auction 1
Julien's Auctions

2001: A Space Odyssey remains one of the greatest science fiction movies (or just plain movies overall) ever made. The mind-bending space-age film takes viewers all the way from the dawn of humankind to, well, 19 years ago over the course of its 2 hour, 29 minute running time. In addition to being a visual masterpiece whose Academy Award-winning space scenes have rarely been matched or bettered, the movie literally helped design the future — with everything from iPads to HAL’s minimalist A.I. interface having been aped by engineers and industrial designers who grew up as fans of the film.

Given its classic movie status, it’s no surprise that the 2001 spacesuit would be looking to command an impressive selling price at auction. However, its rareness is increased by the fact that many of the movie’s props were reportedly destroyed after filming. If anything could help make this suit even more iconic, the fact that it was not among those ill-fated props just might be it.

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
How to watch SpaceX Cargo Dragon depart from ISS this week
The SpaceX Cargo Dragon spacecraft is set to depart the International Space Station on Friday, Jan. 21, for a splashdown Saturday, Jan. 22, off the coast of Florida.

This week, a SpaceX Cargo Dragon craft will depart from the International Space Station (ISS) carrying supplies and scientific experiments back to Earth. The uncrewed craft is scheduled to begin its journey on Friday, and its departure from the ISS will be livestreamed by NASA. We've got all the details on how you can watch along at home below.

NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV
What to expect from the departure
The SpaceX Cargo Dragon spacecraft is set to depart the International Space Station on Friday, January 21, for a splashdown Saturday, January 22, off the coast of Florida. NASA

Read more
Can you spot Mount Everest in this dreamy photo taken from 250 miles up?
The Himalayas photographed from the ISS.

Aerial photographers must surely wish they had the chance to stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS), with the orbiting outpost offering ever-changing views of Earth from 250 miles up.

It’s therefore little surprise that the space station’s seven-window Cupola module, with its stunning panoramic views of Earth and beyond, is easily the most popular spot on the facility among astronauts lucky enough to visit.

Read more
Check out these jaw-dropping space images from 2021
Jupiter storms.

Astonishing technological advancements in recent decades have allowed NASA to send an increasing number of spacecraft to far-off places, enabling earthlings to explore everything from planets and stars to entire galaxies and even black holes. Having the International Space Station orbiting our own planet also allows for science research in unique conditions, conducted by the first generation of humans to live and work in space.

To celebrate yet another extraordinary year in space exploration, we've picked out some of the most striking images released by NASA in the last 12 months. Enjoy!
Gorgeous galaxy

Read more