I have mixed feelings about them not going with this.
Personally I prefer this version to the final one. It's more classic science fiction space action oriented and less "trip of mind" visual experience. But I agree to what Douglas Trumbull said, they would have never be able to do it, and if they did they would have spent the entire remaining budget for special effects. Think of all the things they had to do in post production: the swarms of floating sensor devices, the floating pyramids...
Neat. Clearly a test since the set is obviously not finished.
Yes, and if you look to the big version
there are a lot of interesting details. It's clearly visible the gear used to have the astronaut floating, there is a man at the hutch near the ladder. Also the spacesuit is missing few details like the directional thrusters in the front.
Whatever happened to the alchemist footage?
Good question. Does anyone know why the footage wasn't released in the end?