"Welcome Stranger"

Welcome stranger

LiS episode
1x06 / 6th of 83 aired
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Last week, as you recall, Will Robinson had sent out a radio signal - unaware that far out, in the void of space, a strange, missile-like object was, even now, homing in on it...


A signal sent out by Will is locked onto by a spaceship, and the Robinsons warily watch as the radar signal shows the ship approaching, then land. Don, John, Smith, Will and the Robot go out to check on what landed, and they find astronaut Jimmy Hapgood, also lost from Earth after he missed a landing on Saturn many years earlier. They help him repair his ship, Traveling Man, which is in better condition than the Jupiter 2, so that he can return to Earth. Smith removes a navigational device from the Robot that Hapgood can use.

Prof. and Mrs. Robinson ask Jimmy Hapgood to take Will and Penny with him, but Dr. Smith plots to have himself taken instead. However, Hapgood enjoys life in space, initially refuses to take anyone, but later sees reason and is willing to take Will and Penny. When Will and Penny decide they don't want to go, and hide, Hapgood has to lift off or miss a launch window, so no one returns to Earth.

Background InformationEdit

  • A "landing on Saturn" is not a mistake in the context of 1965. At the time, scientists believed that even Jupiter had a discrete surface. Since the Pioneer probes passed the planet in 1973 and 1974, it has been understood that the four gas giants do not have a solid surface, although they have a rocky core surrounded by gases under such immense pressure that they form a slush. If this had been understood in the early 1960s, Hapgood's course might more likely have been a landing on Saturn's moon Titan. However, one must surely wonder what Alpha Control was thinking when it sent out a small, one-man spaceship on such a mission. It is possible that a misfire or something similar to the Jupiter 2's experience blew it off course, but Hapgood's explanation - that he just felt like taking off someplace - is strange. One wonders how he managed to even be picked for the mission.
  • This is the second episode in a row where the Robot is disassembled.
  • Hapgood left Earth at 0600 on June 18, 1982. Will says this is "more than 15 years ago". The Robinsons launched in 1997.
  • Hapgood's spaceship is hardly larger than a Gemini capsule. One wonders if it docks with a larger craft left in orbit, as well as where it stores fuel, propellant, air, or food.
  • Will says that Earth has a polluted atmosphere. This is hardly surprising given the population explosion of 1997, however, in the later episode "Return from Outer Space" little seems to have changed!
  • Hapgood claims he was "coming in on the Epsilon orbit" when Will interrupts "Epsilon Indi?" Hapgood replies, "No, Eridani." Both are type K main sequence stars, as is Alpha Centauri B. A 1964 report by the RAND Corporation entitled Habitable Planets for Man listed Epsilon Eridani as a star with a relatively high 3.3% chance of having a planet worthy of colonization, so this exchange was in line with the best knowledge of the time. Extrasolar planets are claimed to be present around the star, and it has even been the focus of a SETI project.  Also Priplanis is supposed to be circling Tau Ceti, which is relatively close to Epsilon Eridani as compared to the distance from our Sun to either of them.
  • Smith claims to have doctorates in medicine and science. It is known he is a Space Psychologist and presumably he has enough medical knowledge to be employed by Alpha Control as a physician, although the Alpha Control Reference Manual mentions many of his credentials are forged.
  • Hapgood takes care to wear gloves while decontaminating the exterior of his ship of alien microbes but lets Will climb on it with his bare hands.
  • Hapgood sees a meteor upon his return to space, but he calls it a nova.
  • The footage of Hapgood's capsule leaving the planet would be used for close to every alien spaceship's departure throughout the rest of the show, whether or not the ship bore any resemblance!
  • The rockets on the bottom of Hapgood's ship show shooting flames as it descends towards Priplanis.  Assuming the ship works as conventional rocket technology does, there should be something more akin to a standard jet exhaust as the pressurized heated gas in the reaction engine escapes into the lower pressure environment of space or Priplanis' atmosphere.  Flames could occur if the ship was in an oxygen-containing environment, the exhaust tubes were hot, and a combustible material leaked onto them and ignited.  Oddly the way the thrusters on the Jupiter 2 are shown to work is fairly close to reality.
  • Hapgood was an American Astronaut who became "Lost in Space" in 1982, but Professor Robinson, Major West, and Doctor Smith don't recognize him!

Production historyEdit

Links and referencesEdit