More science-minded viewers will likely scoff at the notion that, just three decades into the future, mankind is capable of colonizing Alpha Centauri, but Lost in Space offers an explanation. In flashbacks intended to shed light on the complicated dynamics of the Robinson family and on the backstory of Parker Posey's Dr. Smith are details about how interstellar flight became almost mundane, and so quickly (after all, this is the 24th mission aboard The Resolute): Earth found the technology -- or stole it, depending upon whom you ask.
While there are a lot of secrets on Lost in Space, involving Maureen Robinson, Dr. Smith and even young Will, none is as big as the "Christmas Star," a meteor that somehow evaded early detection by satellites and crashed to Earth, devastating part of Canada. Of course, as we learn in the season's penultimate episode, it was no ordinary meteorite; there was nothing ordinary about it. In fact, it wasn't a meteor at all, but instead an alien spacecraft, and the "Christmas Star" an elaborate story concocted to explain away the destruction left in its wake.
Whether the ship crashed or was somehow shot down isn't clear, but the results are: Its salvaged engine permitted The Resolute to move from the realm of theory to reality, more than three decades earlier than thought possible. The pilfered technology remained a closely guarded secret, even from Dr. Maureen Robinson (Molly Parker), who was instrumental in the development of The Resolute and the design of the Jupiter crafts.
But with a little (unwanted) help from Dr. Smith, Maureen is able to solve the puzzle during her exploration of the wreckage of Robot's own spacecraft: Robot didn't attack The Resolute; it was sent to reclaim the ship's engine."We didn’t just miraculously develop the technology to travel the universe," she concludes. "We stole it."
In a flashback shown from the perspective of Dr. Smith (Parker Posey) aboard The Resolute, we learn those in charge had long realized the theft of the engine would eventually catch up with them. Presumably, given a choice between remaining on a slowly dying Earth or risk running into the former owners of the powerful engine, they chose to roll the dice. "There was always a risk that they'd come back for it," Maureen's supervisor tells an underling during the attack. "Without that engine out here, we're all dead anyway. So you protect it, at all costs."
They presumably do just that, as The Resolute sustains substantial damage, but survives the "breach," and Robot ends up marooned on a planet with the Robinsons and other evacuated colonists. However, the aliens who built the engine, and Robot, aren't about to give up on the question to reclaim it, or forgive the original sin of humanity's colonization of far-flung planets. We need only to look as far as the season finale for proof of that.
Steaming now on Netflix, the 10-episode first season of Lost in Space stars Toby Stephens, Molly Parker, Maxwell Jenkins, Taylor Russell, Mina Sundwall, Ignacio Serricchio and Parker Posey.