Yes, the nearby planet will eventually figure into the storyline. No,
I cannot currently tell you how.
We're not sure when the writer's guidelines will become available.
We still have to work out the dynamic on that to figure out how to avoid
getting swamped. When I worked on the syndicated Twilight Zone, we got
something in excess of 3,000 spec submissions...and my suspicion is that
if we're successful, that would double. (And that 3,000 figure was just
for one season.) We have to figure out how to create a situation that
will create manageable numbers, or we'll be swamped, and nobody will get a
fair shot because they'll be lost in the white noise.