When I was in the eleventh grade, I read a novel called Expendable. The short version is this: in the future, people who have physical defects or other undesirable qualities are "volunteered" for the Explorer Corps. Whenever a ship is investigating a new planet, the Explorer Corps crew members are dropped down on the planet to see what it's like. They tend to die a lot.
I don't recall the book being particularly amazing, but I find that I remember it strikingly well for something I read thirteen years ago. I know one reason it has stuck in my mind is that I always thought it would be a cracking good idea for a short campaign.
Since I'll be going to a number of conventions this year, I think perhaps I ought to run this. I'm going to ditch the setting, for the most part, and focus on the concept: expendable crew members who get dropped onto unknown planets.
System-wise, I have a lot of options: Traveller, Star Frontiers, d6 Star Wars (for the mechanics only), Savage Worlds, Fudge, even a kitbash of Mutant Future. Ideally, I'm interested in running it using the upcoming Labyrinth Lord compatible edition of Spacemen & Starships, but who knows when that will be hitting bookshelves...I doubt it will be out in time for con season, anyway.
A working title for the campaign just popped into my head: "Planet Crawl."
This could be a fun con season, indeed.