Presents: New Earth (The Grand Tour) [Hardcover]
|NEW EARTH by Ben
Astronomers discover an Earthlike planet orbiting around the star Sirius. Robotic probes confirm that the planet is almost a duplicate of Earth, with oceans of liquid water and a breathable oxygen-rich atmosphere.
A human exploration team is sent to New Earth. Ten men and women, all of them volunteers because the journey to Sirius takes 80 years. They sleep in cryonic suspension most of the way, awakened only when their starship approaches their destination.
All of the explorers understand that they are essentially on a one-way mission. Even if they get back to Earth, nearly 200 years will have elapsed. While they will have aged only a dozen years, all their friends and family, the very society that they once knew, will have changed beyond all recognition. They are exiles, and they know it. They have been picked for this mission not because they are the best in their fields, but because they are expendable.
Once they land on New Earth, they confirm what the uncrewed probes reported: the planet is almost completely Earthlike. But they discover something else, too: New Earth is inhabited by a small group of intelligent creatures who look very much like human beings.
Who are these people? Why didnít the robotic probes detect them? Are they native to this world or invaders from elsewhere? While they seem inordinately friendly to the human explorers, what are their real motivations? What do they want?
Moreover, the scientists begin to realize that this planet cannot possibly be natural. Siriusí companion star, a white dwarf, exploded in a titanic supernova outburst that would have destroyed any planets in the Sirius system. And indeed, New Earth is the only planet orbiting Sirius.
Could New Earth be an artifact?