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Families in Space

Updated on November 9, 2014

Why families in space?

Were they exiled?

No, it turns out that some families want to go into space as a family instead of watching the launch or being bored at mission control as one of them is away in a shuttle or on the space station. And now that the space shuttle is retired and decommissioned, the opportunities for these family outings have greatly increased.

Also, some companies want to develop Mars and this means that instead of just family vacations, your family can do the whole Space Family Robinson Crusoe on Mars thing. The big question: Can you bring Fido and Frisky and the goldfish? Or will they infest the Red Planet with fleas and ticks? Stay tuned . . .

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Please like this lens by pressing the like button. And please leave a comment with suggestions of things I could add to this lens. Thank you. -- your editor, Toni Roman, young mother of three daughters

Space Family Robinson

Before talking about real families in space, let's take a detour through some fictional families in space. First up, the Robinsons as played on the original TV series.

Professor John Robinson was played by Guy Williams. Maureen Robinson was played by June Lockhart (her real life daughter Anne Lockhart was Lieutenant Sheba in the cast of the original Battlestar Galactica). Judy Robinson was played by Marta Kristen. Penny Robinson was played by Angela Cartwright. This actress's career stretches from Make Room for Daddy (1957) through The Sound of Music and Lost in Space to a cameo in the Lost in Space movie. Will Robinson was played by Billy Mumy. Bill Mumy has played in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Kellin) and Babylon 5.

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Wow! John Williams cut his teeth on Irwin Allen shows like Lost in Space before moving up to Jane Eyre and Fiddler on the Roof. Then with Jaws and Star Wars, he became a household name.

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Lost in Space (1998)

In the 1998 movie Lost in Space, June Lockhart did a cameo as Will's principal, Mark Goddard briefly appeared as a military officer, and Marta Kristen and Angela Cartwright played reporters.

Angela Cartwright's real life sister Veronica Cartwright has a career that stretches from Alfred Hitchcock Presents to playing the beleaguered wife of C.G.B. Spender, also known as the Cigarette Smoking Man and Cancer Man, the monster who sells out Earth and the human race.

The Robinsons: Lost in Space (TV movie)

What you didn't know is that Lost in Space is still lost in space. There was a 2004 TV movie. This movie was meant to be the pilot for a new Lost in Space TV series but has never been seen. The network, studio and production company have buried this mystery project so effectively that I cannot find out which actress played Penny Robinson. The John Woo project seems to have deliberately dropped the Penny character.

The Robinsons: Lost in Space (TV movie)

This is a shot of the cast. Note the lack of Penny Robinson but extra males.

This version added an elder son David Robinson and reduced Penny in age to an infant.

Simple math people. No wonder this project sunk (no matter how good the talent was behind it) when there was an imbalance of gender.

And the talent and money behind it was impressive. It was directed by John Woo (Mission Impossible 2 and Face/Off) with a larger budget than ER coming from Regency Television and Warner Brothers Television. The stars included Brad Johnson who was in Riverworld (yep, based on the science fiction classic). So the makers of this project are not amateurs.

So what happened? Also involved in this project was Fox Television Studios. Mystery solved. As everyone on planet Earth who has not been living in a cave knows, Fox has been behind the destruction of every promising science fiction project on television since the network was created.

But, good news!!! The Fox network is dying in the ratings and affiliates are pulling out to join more promising networks like the CW.

THE ROBINSONS: LOST IN SPACE Unsold 2004 Pilot Part 1

Lost In Space - The Web Series

Lost In Space - The Web Series is an internet TV series that DOES have Penny Robinson.

Lost In Space - The Web Series: Final Title Sequence

Space Family Robinson

Each cover is worse than the one before it with weirder and weirder bug-eyed monsters. Amazing that people bought this garbage. Any parasitology or pathology lab can show you things on Earth far worse.

Dysfunctional Family

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HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Photo of Armstrong and his family taken July 11, 1969, when they were living near Ellington Air Force Base in Texas. The youngest child is the one who received too heavy a dose of Texas history, according to Armstrong.

The Schirra family visit JFK

If you ask: Who is Wally Schirra? Or if you ask: Who is JFK? Then go back and tell your history teachers that you slept through all of their classes and that people like you should not be allowed into space.

astronaut Vance DeVoe Brand - and family

The First Family - in (a) Space center

Obama family inspects space shuttle Atlantis.

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First Family views space shuttle Atlantis. They are accompanied by astronaut Janet Kavandi and United Space Alliance project lead for thermal protection systems Terry White.

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cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov - and family

Family Space Projects

I will grant you that Guide to Backyard Space Projects is bigger and has a bit more help with the technical challenges but here is the inspiration for doing it.

The First Mom in Space

Anna Lee Fisher

The First Mother in Space - Anna Lee Fisher (NASA STS-51A, November 8, 1984)

Her husband was in space with her but he was not the first father in space. They were the first husband and wife in space. Just add children and you have the first family in space (not the Presidential kind).

1963: Valentina Tereshkova, cosmonaut - USSR, became the first woman in space.

1983: Sallie Ride, astronaut - USA, became the first American woman in space.

The reflection in her helmet's face visor makes it look like she's crying tears of joy.

If someone has a baby in space, does that make the baby an alien? Actually yes but not the chest burster kind. The baby would be technically born not in any country and would be stateless but it would not be an illegal alien because it would probably get the citizenship of the mother at which point the baby would cease to be an alien and be a citizen of the mother's country -- the same as with pregnant women travelling out of the country on Earth. I told you that free so that a greedy space lawyer would not charge you for the same information. Now buy something from my lens. I have bills to pay too.

Ripley in the Alien movies does not count since she is fictional. Those movies were a strong argument for family planning (and late trimester . . . nevermind, I'm not going there) and choice. Some of us humans claim to hold life sacred. Well . . . if we discover intelligent life out there, not just life but intelligent life with civilizations probably far more technically advanced than ours, then people will do what comes naturally.

It might not happen that way. In an episode of Star Trek Enterprise (the fifth and last TV series), Commander Charles 'Trip' Tucker III and Sub-Commander T'Pol were forced by racial purists to have a baby despite the fact that he was a human and she was a Vulcan. I will not ruin it for anyone who has not seen the episode with any spoilers.

What does Doctor Fisher being female or a mother have to do with anything? As a female, she is a role model for girls. As a mother, it does not mean a thing because no one gushed about all the fathers separated from their children and how difficult that was for them. I happen to know of fathers who practically freak if they have to be away from their children and who quit jobs over it. And what about husbands separated from wives? Ask the wife of any sailor.

Astronauts Anna and Bill Fisher

and baby daughter Kristen Ann are seated in preparation for a Good Morning America Interview.

Who was the first father or dad in space?

This would be a good school project. A lot of the first astronauts and cosmonauts were single but many were married. And of those married, a percentage would have had children before or during their spaceflight.

Families in Space

Living in Space
Living in Space

Chapter Eight deals with families in space.

 
The Soccer Mom From Outer Space
The Soccer Mom From Outer Space

Short but would make a great Disney movie. Hint hint.

 
Farmer in the Sky (Heinlein's Juveniles Book 4)
Farmer in the Sky (Heinlein's Juveniles Book 4)

It is called a juvenile but an adult could read and enjoy it. When I read this as a child, this novel was the first time I read a book longer than a Doctor Seuss picture book. A great introduction to good science fiction by one of the three best SF authors. It is about a family in space. A quality read.

 

Future Additions to This Lens

(if anyone cares to know)

Having babies in space.

Taking children with you when you go to space.

Schools out there. Will they be like the radio schools of Australia?

Keeping Johnny from opening up the airlock and killing everyone. Not that big a problem since there can be child-proof (adult-proof) locks activated when children are present. And most space agencies will not let Bart Simpson typoes into space anyway. Hey, they're rocket scientists and they have children too. So they are smart enough to not let homicidal kids up there. Plus the fact that rocket scientists tend to be geniuses means that they will have genius children who will be smart enough to leave the airlocks alone. Guess who gets chosen to go? Not like the hyperactive dolts we see running around before they are old enough to serve a very long time in prison.

I have not bothered to put links of astronauts with expectant wives who delivered while he was in orbit. This lens is about families in space -- preferably the whole family and not a few members -- and not about absentee fathers always away on business trips. Either take the whole family or space is not worth the trouble.

Wedding of Two Cosmonauts

In my humble opinion, this had to have been the idea of the Soviet government for the first woman in space and the first bachelor in space to get married because Premier Khrushchev liked publicity stunts. It might not have been a shotgun wedding but I think the idea of being sent to a gulag in Siberia when given "suggestions" (direct orders) might have been motivation enough for these two to get hitched. Then there is the fact that with the fall of the Soviet Era also came divorce. Not that there would not have been other strains in a public marriage but other famous people manage to stay married for a lifetime. Major General Valentina Tereshkova is still very much alive and I suppose some reporter was foolish or smart enough to ask her if it was a shotgun wedding. He passed away and so is not available (in this life anyway) for comment.

Retired Cosmonaut Tereshkova recently expressed interest in going to Mars one-way. It is called "The Red Planet" after all, though for different reasons. It appears reddish in telescopes.

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RIA Novosti archive, image #611957 / Alexander Mokletsov / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

First Person to Have Both Parents in Space

Dr. Elena Andrianovna Nikolaeva-Tereshkova was the first person to have both a mother and father who had travelled into space. Her father was cosmonaut Andriyan Nikolayev, the only bachelor cosmonaut to have flown. Her mother was cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space.

There are lots of photographs of cosmonauts at home but getting permission to use those photos is difficult. In the photo, none of the children shown is the daughter Valentina. The cosmonaut in military uniform is Valery Bykovsky.

Look for the link to a Russian site where you can see photos of Valentina's daughter growing up at home.

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RIA Novosti archive, image #619144 / Alexander Mokletsov / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Cosmonauts at Home

The last link may looks like gibberish because Squidoo's system and your system may not translate the characters nor handle the Russian Cyrillic alphabet very well. Reload or refresh and you may be able to see what it is supposed to look like. Then you can practice your Russian.

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Father & Son in Space

Mother & Daughter separated for a while by the gulfs of space.

Space Baby-making

Sorry no show and tell photographs or videos available.

Because "Families In Space" is family-friendly (code for being coy) lest any kiddies stray onto this lens, I leave specifics out. However, you can go over to Guide to Space Tourism and then go to the logical section to read more.

Space Babies

Ed White was the first US astronaut to father a child (a daughter) after having flown in space (GT-4). The child was medically studied for years to see if she was somehow different from a 'normal' child. As anyone who has seen the movie Species 2 or The Astronaut's Wife or Alien or pretty much any space horror movie, the ending was predictable — and gross. The child was (and is) normal and that meant lots of gross diapers.

Anyone who has lived near the magnetic North Pole or magnetic South Pole has been exposed to more cosmic radiation than any astronaut in the form of the aurora borealis and aurora australis. Last time I checked, the Inuit (Arctic Natives) live long healthy lives.

Space-Related Activities You Can Do With Your Family Now

James Webb Space Telescope
James Webb Space Telescope

1. Make home-made pizzas that look like the planets. This is mostly geared for small children who cannot handle the science yet.

2. Take a Solar System walk on a footpath or trail with the starting point representing the Sun and temporary signs or permanent markers at the distance from the Sun exactly proportional to the actual distance from the Sun. No cheating! Don't do cop-outs like putting the signs or markers every twenty feet or estimating. Take the time to measure. We all have heard professional astronomers say things like if the Sun were the size of a beach ball then Jupiter would be a mile away or something like that. You know the size of your neighborhood or county walking trail or your farm. Take a calculator and divide each planets distance by one half or whatever factor if walking twenty miles to Neptune is not practical. This is an exercise that might wear out or put to sleep toddlers but older children and teens would be up to it.

3. Comets and meteors are best simulated in a science class but you could ask a high school science teacher & high school science club to do a demonstration which might be done in a wind tunnel with a blow torch applied to a dirty snowball or rock. And people standing way back wearing safety glasses.

4. Find the local astronomy club and attend their next star party. Here are some tips. Learn proper astronomy etiquette ahead of time like turning off lights, respecting that people's eyes are dark adapted, and bringing litter bags. Specifically ask the club: "What is proper astronomy etiquette?" Do that and you won't get your family banned through some faux pas.

5. Go with your family to a planetarium with a solid show on preparing your family for actual space travel. This may not be the closest planetarium to you and you may have to plan an overnight trip to travel a distance.

6. Take a trip to an amusement park because everyone knows that the rides expose you to G-forces just like in astronaut training. Disney World is okay but do not waste your time and money on Space Camp and here is why: It emphasizes aviation, robotics and control rooms. Unless you are planning on becoming a Borg, robotics is not going to help anyone who is not a roboticist. This is all about families in space so aviation is also a distraction. A pilot's license is good to have but you can get that at your local airport. You will not be in the control room at NASA unless you become an employee at NASA and get into their Houston mission control or Cape Canaveral launch control. Neither career gets you into space. A tour of any NASA facility is nice but you will not be living on the International Space Station. The people who have been space tourists had to go through Russia because NASA does not want you in space. What???!!! Please do not use profanity around the children. Thank you.

7. Unbelievably the various Mars colonization companies and foundations still have slots open. So sign up while they are still begging for applicants. You will have plenty of time to back out or switch to Venus or the Moon or whatever fancy hits you. But once the applications close out, you will not have the option of getting in without paying an arm and a leg. There is logic in getting your name in the hat early. Winners are the ones who show up because everyone else assumed they had no chance and never even tried. Is your family a family of losers?

8. Read space magazines and search space search engines for news of new space colonization companies. Companies that are going to mine asteroids will be using robots and will not need people -- much less whole families. If a company emphasizes the risk involved in a space project, then leave that project for singles and childless couples who accept the risk. Stick to safer projects that are kid-friendly and actively welcome families with young children. In practice, this could mean your children could be adults before you go but that is an option also. The fictional Robinsons did not bring infant babies either but they did bring children.

9. If your family is full of high IQ geniuses and PhD's, then consider holding a family meeting where you reach a unanimous consensus as to what you all want to do. It may be something like operate a family space business (operating an orbital or lunar bed & breakfast for example) or become terraformers (a multi-generational commitment where you all live on or near a world that is being terraformed) or volunteer to be on the first interstellar voyage. Some space projects by definition require families and not the lone individual. Contact me, Toni Roman, if you need assistance. I keep a database to match people with projects.

10. If you live in India, keep your eyes and ears open for space education opportunities in orbit.

11. Scuba diving is a great way to simulate zero gravity but long term that L5 stuff will result in weak bones without artificial or real gravity. For the sake of your family's health, always choose higher gravity situations over lower gravity situations. For example, Ceres is better than the other asteroids as a place to live because it has more gravity. Ganymede is better than Callisto for the same reason. Once Venus is terraformed, it will be way better than Mars. As for worlds outside the Solar System, you might want to invent Faster Than Light travel.

12. Some deserts on Earth give a good idea of what Mars would be like. The major difference is the thin air of Mars. If you tire of wearing a spacesuit every time you want to go outside, then you would wear an oxygen concentrator just like what patients with shortness of breath wear. You would also rub on sunscreen with high SPF to block UV and with moisterizers just like you would on Earth if you have any sense. Since it would be extremely cold, you would wear thermal underwear and live at the bottom of Valles Marineris. You would only try to go outside without a spacesuit on the hottest days of the Martian summer. Then and only then would you feel like a real Martian instead of just a Earther (Terran) tourist.

13. You can camp in a cave just like some Mars colonization experiments. I would suggest that you not pick a cold ice cave nor a hot volcanic cave. The best choice is one free of any life form because Mars does not have life yet. Besides scorpions and centipedes and bat guano is more unpleasant than accidentally waking up a hibernating bear who mauls you to death. You also do not want to choose a wet cave since Mars is bone-dry. You might fall into a bottomless pit or be swept into a subterranean river never to be found. Remember the point of camping in a cave is to simulate the isolation of being far from Earth with only what you can bring.

14. There are travel companies that arrange visits to Antarctica. A long visit there effectively gives an experience of living on a cold world. I suppose spending time with a volcanologist trotting across the lava fields of Hawaii would get you ready for Venus although realistically people going to Venus for any reason will be living in orbiting space stations and in balloon cities high in the atmosphere of Venus. The surface of Venus will be the domain of machines until the terraformers make some radical and rapid transformations.

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photo courtesy James Webb Space Telescope

Space-Related Activities You Can Do With Your Family Now

Space-Related Activities You Can Do With Your Family Now

Colonization Projects Your Family Can Apply To or Investigate - Criteria

You want to investigate and find out if they:

1. are serious

2. are legitimate (not a scam)

3. have deep pockets -- backing of a major company or billionaires or initial public offering or trust fund (governments are untrustworthy, they cut funds unexpectedly)

4. are sending a community of entrepreneurs -- once you get somewhere your food, your clothes, your shelter, your building supplies, your tools, your electricity, your water, your oxygen, your health care, your schools, your local transportation, your phone service, your banking, your home heating & cooling, your social services educators, teachers, nergy will come

, foundif they run out of money you could be left some

costs or free, but if they are sending you for free you have little right to complain)

Space Fetus

2001: a space odyssey

Final scene of the greatest motion picture ever made (according to top critics) and by one of the best cinema auteurs (Stanley Kubrick) and written by the greatest science fiction author (Arthur C. Clarke). The universe was made with a Big Bang.

Wait for it . . . just like babies. T.S. Eliot wrote at the end of his poem Hollow Men in 1925, "This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper."

The ending of 2001: a space odyssey the film deleted the scene where the Star Child detonated an orbital bomb platform because most people are unaware that such things exist, are unaware that militarization of space is against treaties, are unaware of space treaties, are unaware of the effect of detonating them in space, and might assume that the Star Child destroyed the Earth. In 2001: a space odyssey the novel the scene is intact.

In reality, unless there was some change in the laws of physics, a nuclear detonation that high would fry unprotected electronics over much of the Earth as a result of electromagnetic pulse. None of this is pleasant but if you want to bring children into the world or into the universe, then you should be a responsible adult and stop war, stop overpopulation, reverse climate change, and act as if you cared what kind of world you left behind for your child and your grandchildren's grandchildren. Certainly, deniers don't care.

" . . . the circling megatons flowered in a silent detonation that brought a brief, false dawn to half the sleeping globe. Then he waited."

— Arthur C. Clarke

Here is an idea for a family project: Go together to orbit like Richard Branson and his family are planning.

Sound like a plan? Then list your family here !

Family Projects

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