Together with Barnard’s Star and Lacialle 8760, the Ross 154 system is an absolutely vital link for Earth: With the 7.7 light-years limit of current Jump drive technology, these three systems are Earth’s only link to the rest of the galaxy. This also means that, should it prove impossible to extend said limit, mankind will be trapped on Earth once any one of these stars moves too far away from its ‘neighbors’. While this won’t happen for at least hundreds of thousands of years, it is a long-term concern to the think-tanks that worry about such things. It is also remarkable, at least to some cosmologists and to some philosophers, that mankind developed the technology to travel to the stars during an age when a great number of solar systems are available to it.
Some SETI scientists have proposed such a potential isolation as one solution to the Fermi paradox, however if an alien civilization is truly separated from other stars by a jump drive “chasm”, we will likely never know about it.
Ross 154 is 5.53 light-years from Barnard’s Star. The voyage from Earth to Ross 154 is a total of 11.49 light years due to the detour via Barnard’s Star, Ross is only 9,68 light years from Earth. This nicely illustrates the “inefficiency” inherent in Jump drive technology. And at 30 days to a light-year, it took the first interstellar probe almost a year to reach Ross 154 – 345 days – of pure travel time. The probe had been launched soon after the return of “Hope” from Alpha Centauri, in February of 2173, and it returned to Terra in April 2175.
The Ross 154 system was a disappointment after the exciting planetary discoveries made previously, but nobody had expected Ross 154 to contain any habitable worlds.
- Desert World (0.03 AU): 6000km diameter, density 0.4, Gravity 0.2. Thin atmosphere, no water, 2 moons.
- Rock ball (0.07 AU): 4000km diameter, density 0.8, Gravity 0.27. Very Thin atmosphere, ice crystal deposits at the poles.
- Ice Ball (0.13 AU): 3000km diameter, density 0.3 Gravity 0.08. No atmosphere, 20% surface ice.
- Failed Core (0.21 AU): 7000km diameter, density 0.4 Gravity 0.23. Thin atmosphere, 70% surface ice, two moons.
- Ice Ball (0.45 AU): 1000km diameter, density 0.2 Gravity 0.02. No atmosphere, 40% surface ice. Three tiny moons.
- Failed Core (0.98 AU): 6000km diameter, density 0.6 Gravity 0.3. Thin atmosphere, 40% surface ice, 3 moons.
- Failed Core (1.97 AU): 6000km diameter, density 1.3 Gravity 0.65. Standard atmosphere, 80% surface ice.
Even though the system offers no obvious choices for a settlement, the Colonial Authority and the star-faring nations are likely to set up outposts throughout the system to service and refuel starships. Likely candidates are the Failed Core world in Orbit 7, due to its relatively high gravity which will cause fewer health problems in humans, as well as the tiny ice ball world #5 and the moons of the Failed Core in orbit #4; in the later two cases because the low gravity makes landing and take-off of spacecraft fairly low energy affairs.
Lacialle 8760 is 7.36 from Ross 154. From this system, four other systems can be reached: Lacialle 9352, Epsilon Indi, Gliese 832, and 2MASS J18450541-6357475. While Lacialle 8760 is 12,87 light years from Earth, a ship must travel 18.85 light years to get there, 566 days of travel-time not counting any pauses. And that is only counting one way. The first probe to visit the system was launched together with the one targeting Ross 154, and indeed both probes traveled “in tandem” – one of the secondary objectives was to test synchronization of the arrival of the probes, and the Ross 154 probe recorded departure data for its sister ship as it continued its voyage to Lacialle 8760. It took the Lacialle 8760 probe until April 2176 to return to Earth.
Interestingly, all worlds orbiting Lacialle 8760 are located in the star’s “outer” zone; the habitable zone and inner zone are completely empty.
- Ice Ball (0.3 AU): 11000km diameter, density 0.1, Gravity 0.09. Very Thin atmosphere, 40% surface ice, 1 moon.
- Ice Ball (0.57 AU): 9000km diameter, density 0.1, Gravity 0.08. Very Thin atmosphere, 40% surface ice, No moons.
- Failed Core (0.8 AU): 14000km diameter, density 0.2, Gravity 0.23. Standard atmosphere, 10% surface ice, 2 moons.
- Ice Ball (1.36 AU): 6000km diameter, density 0.1, Gravity 0.05. Standard atmosphere, 30% surface ice, 1 moon.
- Rock (2.44 AU): 2000km diameter, density 0.7, Gravity 0.12. No atmosphere, Ice crystals, 1 tiny moon.
- Rock (5.13 AU): 3000km diameter, density 0.6, Gravity 0.15. No atmosphere, Ice crystals.
The Colonial Authority and various nations are also planning to set up bases in the Lacialle 8760 system. Prime candidate is world #4, because it possesses ice and a low surface gravity.