"The Raft"


LiS episode
1x12 / 12th of 83 aired
Production #
First aired
Written by
Directed by
Previous episode
Next episode

Last week, as you recall, we left Penny and Will Robinson, watching from the safety of the Jupiter 2, as the final moments of a space experiment ticked off - an experiment that Will Robinson hoped might save them all...


Will has been constructing small rocket probes -- like bottles with messages in them -- and launching them in an effort to get a message to someone seeking assistance. His latest, however, does not launch properly and descends from its balloon as a fiery missile. John and Don find that Will has used far too much fuel required for the ship's engines, but they realize they could convert the Jupiter 2's atomic reactor chamber into a small spacecraft. Don would pilot it to Earth. They set to work, decontaminate it, and equip it with the necessary systems.

Smith, however, covets a ride, and hides in it, and shortly after Will climbs in to inquire as to Smith's presence, a misspoken word by Smith causes the Robot to cast off the raft and it rises and fires its engine. The raft heads into space, and only a short time later, approaches a planet that Smith believes is Earth. On landing, they begin an overland trek, trying to find a highway, but also seeing odd plant phenomena. John and Don have reason to believe the raft landed back on the planet, having insufficient engine power to escape the planet's gravity.

Smith and Will become the captives of a creature that insists they care for plants in a small enclosure.

Background InformationEdit

  • The reactor core the castaways used to create the raft, looks suspiciously like the Diving Bell from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (also an Irwin Allen production). It will also appear in various forms throughout the series in such episodes "The Sky Pirate," "A Change of Space," and "Rocket to Earth."
  • Dr. Smith's "skunk cabbage" monster looks a lot like an undersea monster that menaced the Seaview in an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
  • This craft does not have the same lines as the space pod introduced in the third season, however, the space pod was probably trapped inside the Jupiter 2 each time they crash landed in seasons 1 and 2. It does introduce a nit - if they can get the reactor core out through the limited openings available, why can't they unload the space pod?
  • Professor Robinson devises a way of making 'unlimited propellant' from a plasma reaction in this episode. Despite initial tests working well, the use on the actual engines backfired - and the Space Raft did not have enough power to escape the orbit of Priplanus. It is strange that the Space Pod later has no trouble doing the same later on, but of course this spacecraft was not thought up yet. Also, the new invention of the plasma fuel is never again referred to, possibly so that the plot point of the Robinsons running out of fuel continually could keep being used.
  • With respect to scientific terminology, LIS seems to be confusing the terms "propellant" and "fuel." Technically propellant is the material used to generate thrust, not fuel.
  • The decontamination procedure is actually accurate if the contamination is in the form of radioactive dust particles inside the raft.  However, the run-off would have to be collected and deposed of.
  • In the opening scene, the small balloon lifts the tiny rocket ship. When it crashes back to Preplanus, the force field saves the Professor, Will, and Penny. We are then told that the force field only works in one direction. It allows objects to leave, but does not allow objects to approach. This contradicts the behavior of the force field in "There Were Giants in the Earth", when the Robot turned off the force field in order to leave the campsite.
  • When Smith and Will are in the raft travelling through space, they rock gently back and forth to mimic the motion of their little spaceship. At one point Bill Mumy's rocking motion gets out of sync with Jonathan Harris', so Mumy stops the rocking motion until he can resynch with Harris' rocking motion, and then continues.
  • Again, like Hapgood's spaceship in "Welcome Stranger," there seem to be no provision for air, water, or food on the Raft.

Production Timeline Edit

Links and referencesEdit



Special guest starEdit

Uncredited co-stars (alphabetical)Edit


atomic reactor chamber; Bush creature; Earth; planet; plant