I started a book, left it on an airplane, and am trying to remember the title. I believe it was the first book of a trilogy. A main unusual ability of some was to get into a "machine" and send a replicated image of themselves on short ventures out. This gave the person some protection over the real person being harmed. It was not earth.
At the end of the first book a very small group was heading out on their planet to find the truth to some mystery.