Lost in Space: What they Got Right!

Last week I posted about what the original LIS series got wrong in terms of Physics, Astronomy and some related subjects. Today I’ll talk about what they got right.

1. Non-humanoid intelligent aliens: In just their second show back in the autumn of 1965 they encountered intelligent “bubble-like” creatures. They didn’t speak at all (in a manner we could understand anyway), but they did they did emit what looked to be some sort of electrical discharge which had an accompanying noise. That may or may nor have been any form of communication. This was a year before Star Trek came on the air. As for the accuracy, we don’t really know what real aliens would look like, but they probably would not look like humans, having evolved, most likely, in a completely different environment. They may not look like bubbles either, but at least LIS had the imagination and understanding to at least represent some aliens as being totally different from us.

2. Trips to Nearby Stars would take years: Well, this is one they got right at first, but then started to mess around with because,like other space based sci-fi that followed, writers noticed that it would be much more interesting to have them encounter new planets and new aliens almost every week. The original pilot (un-aired) had them taking 99 years to get to Alpha Centauri, and then this was changed to 5 years in the aired pilot.

In both versions, the Robinsons were to be in suspended animation (“freezing tubes”). The facts are that even with nuclear fusion energy (still decades off from being used in space, if ever, since we don’t even have sustained reactions yet in huge ground based reactors) we would only get up to speeds that are a fraction of the speed of light. It takes light a bit over 4 years to get to Alpha Centauri, so the Robinsons must take longer.

They sometimes seem to be able to go much faster, but this ability goes unexplained, other than to occasionally say the the ship is “going into a hyper drive.” Perhaps this is implying that the Jupiter 2 is taking short cuts through space.

Well lets see what the NEW Lost in Space has in store for us tomorrow (I swear, I am not being paid by Netflix!)

And if you think this is interesting, check out my book, the Physics and Astronomy of Science Fiction (by Steven D. Bloom, and published by McFarland). It is available through Amazon, BarnesandNoble, and other online booksellers (as well as direct from the publisher). It is available in electronic form and paperback.

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