One of the most audacious movies ever made was 2001: A Space Odyssey, a visual feast when it was first released in groovy 1968. Produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick from a screenplay written by sci-fi doyen Arthur C Clarke, it was a glorious piece of futuristic cinema, but difficult to truly fathom.

The one element that did make sense was Hal 9000, the spaceship’s onboard computer, which took over from the humans while they were kept in cold storage during their mission. 

Several light years away, Strathclyde is one of only two Scottish universities securing an initial £2.1m available to look at artificial intelligence (AI) in space. 

Professor Massimiliano Vasile, of the Aerospace Centre of Excellence, in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Strathclyde, says this project aims to demonstrate the impact of a selected number of emerging AI technologies on the sustainability of the space sector. So is Prof Vasile finally going to explain the mystery how Hal 9000 managed to take over the spacecraft?