Episode 15

 Return From Outer Space

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Penny discovers a machine that transports her and Debbie to another world. The robot adjusts the controls of the machine to bring them both back. Will uses the machine to send himself back to 1950’s era Earth. There he tries to contact Alpha Control to send a rescue team back to find the rest of the Robinsons.

Will meets up with a boy named Davey and his aunt Clara who invite him to be a member of their family. They serve him a glass of milk and a slice of apple pie. Others are not so welcoming. Will confronts a group of teenage boys who are naturally skeptical when he claims to have come from the future. Will is asked three questions by the youths to establish he is who he says he is –

(1) What’s a stellar interfermeter? (Will correctly answers it’s an instrument for measuring the diameter of stars).

(2) How many miles in a parsec? (Will answers 19 million). The correct answer is closer to 19 trillion miles.

(3) How far is it to Alpha Centauri? (Will answers 5.3 light years). Today scientists more closely estimate the distance between Earth and the star system known as Alpha Centauri to be 4.3 light years apart – that’s roughly 40 trillion kilometers.

No current technology can propel an object or spaceship that distance.

However back in 2016 Russian high-tech billionaire Yuri Milner announced a new initiative called Breakthrough Starshot, which intends to pour $100 million into proof-of-concept studies for an entirely new technology for star travel, aimed at unmanned space flight at 20% of light speed with the goal of reaching the Alpha Centauri system – and, presumably, its newly discovered planet Proxima b – within 20 years.

When he’s asked by Davey – “What’s space like?” Will answers –

“I do know that everything in the universe is made of the same molecules we are – they’re just rearranged differently that’s all”.

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Will must position himself on a snow-covered ledge next to a tree (the same place where the machine deposited him the previous day) at precisely midday in order to be beamed back to the planet on which the Jupiter 2 is marooned. He takes with him a bottle of carbon tetrachloride  (a colourless liquid with a sweet smell that used to be used in fire extinguishers and is still today a key ingredient in lava lamps, adding weight to the otherwise buoyant wax) which is needed for the Jupiter 2’s fuel supply.

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Actor Billy Mumy who played Will Robinson rates this episode as one of his Top Three Favourites of LOST IN SPACE.

I agree. This really is one of the standout episodes from the First Season.

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