Beauty of the Deep Night

Simulating an interstellar flight on long-term hardware.

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For a long time, I've had an idea for a project: to simulate a mission to Proxima Centauri on a computer in real time. There's a couple reasons I want to do this: I think it's an interesting exercise in keeping a computer running for a long time (just over 1900 days, if my math is right), and because I'm a space nerd. It just seems like a cool idea. I sketched out the idea in Mathematica, then wrote some Go code.

What exactly is this? I wrote some code that is a very basic simulation of a flight to the star Proxima Centauri. In the real world, I plan to run a single process for nearly five and a quarter years. If it fails or stops, the mission is lost, simulating the requirement for a stable control system for the ship. This means that if I move, I can't just turn the system off. I've set a "launch" date for my 35th birthday, which is when the system is finalized and the simulation can't be touched. That means I'll be just over 40 years old when it finishes, which is a little sobering.


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  • 1 × Raspberry Pi Model 3B version 1.2
  • 1 × 52Pi UPS+ (EP-0136)
  • 1 × Pi Supply PaPiRus hat

  • Launch approaches

    Kyle Isom02/17/2022 at 04:12 0 comments

    I'm about 95% sure this is feature complete and ready for launch. I've run plenty of flight simulations on both my laptop and the Raspberry Pi and I've been running test flights on the Pi. Still, once launched, the simulation can't be stopped, so I've got that little bit of trepidation.

    I think the biggest question will be seeing how long the system can run for before hardware failure.

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