Astronauts Taylor (Charlton Heston), Landon (Robert Gunner), Dodge (Jeff Burton) and Stewart (an uncredited Dianne Stanley) are in deep hibernation when their spaceship crash-lands in a lake on an unknown planet, after a 2006-year voyage at near-light speed (during which the crew ages only 18 months due to time dilation). The astronauts awaken to find their ship sinking and Stewart dead and her body desiccated due to an air leak in her suspended animation chamber. They use an inflatable raft to reach shore, but before departing the ship, Taylor denotes that the current year is AD 3978. Once ashore Dodge performs a soil test and pronounces the soil incapable of sustaining life.
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