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Les Johnson & Ken Roy
Welcome to The Ross 248 Project. With the contributing authors, we have created a shared-world science fiction anthology meant to entertain and inspire. Our goal was to create a plausible future where humans, along with their children and machine creations, decide to leave the solar system that gave us birth and settle worlds around a distant star—Ross 248.
Why Ross 248? First, it is an actual star located in the constellation of Andromeda. Ross 248 is a small star (an M6V red dwarf, for those curious to know) about 10.3 light-years (LY) from Earth. The star has no known companions…yet. But, for the sake of this anthology, we assume that it has a system of planets like those at Trappist-1. Based on current exoplanet detection techniques, it is unlikely that this assumption can be proved false within the next few decades. Ross 248 is fairly close to our solar system, relatively speaking, allowing for a journey of one hundred years at ten percent the speed of light (0.1c, where c is shorthand for the speed of light). It also has the interesting property of being in motion toward our solar system. In about thirty thousand years it will become the closest star to our sun and in another ten thousand years, give or take, Ross 248 be within 3 LY of our current home.
Because this world will be used by the contributing authors, each coming up with their own creative ways to view and tackle the many challenges, we had to create a guidebook on which the authors could hang their stories for consistency. And we wanted it to be plausible. But, as Yogi Berra once said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
Nonetheless, we tried, and created a reference guide that provides the technical and historical background to the Ross 248 Project that might be of interest to those of you who like such details. Highlights from the guide can be found in the appendix.
The stories herein will entertain and inform, addressing such questions as why humanity decides to build and send starships to Ross 248, what challenges might be faced in efforts to create Earth II, and how people and our artificial intelligence creations might react in stressful and dangerous situations. Earth is only a long-distance phone call away—but the response will take twenty years.
It has been a true pleasure working with the professional storytellers contributing to this volume. They have our sincere thanks and best wishes. We hope you enjoy the results.
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