Lost in time

Dear Johnny Fanboy,

In the Lost in Space episode Visit to a Hostile Planet, the Robinson family find themselves back on Earth, but 50 years ahead of their proper time of the 1990s. They decide to return to where they were before in space and time, because if they remain in the 1940s they will not fit in - they would be treated as outcasts or lunatics, or their 1990s science might alter history.

However, the Jupiter 2 contains freezing tubes for long space flights. Why can't they just freeze themselves and set the controls to wake them up 50 years later?

Rachel Bishop

Johnny Fanboy replies:

That's the sort of idea that only an ardent reader/watcher/listener of time-travel stories (such as you and I) would think of! Maybe it just didn't occur to the Robinsons to do that.

Alternatively, the notion might have been considered but quickly ruled out if it was deemed unsafe to use the suspended-animation tubes for such a long period of time.

There's also the problem of the Jupiter 2 being discovered while its crew are dormant. Where would they hide the ship? Anywhere on Earth and it might be found. In space there would be the problem of fuel running out, an orbit decaying or collision with asteroids or comets (which, in the Lost in Space universe, are hot rather than icy!). Even if they were to set down on one of the other planets or moons in the solar system, there would still be the risk of discovery by space probe or of a loss of atmospheric integrity.

Personally, I've always been more mystified as to how they manage to get back to their own time. I guess we must assume that, as in Star Trek, re-creating the original conditions of the time warp (in this case, extreme velocity) allows them to travel back in the opposite direction. Or maybe they had created an actual rip in the fabric of space-time, which it was possible to travel back through.

Other than that, of course, the science of Lost in Space makes perfect sense... not!

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