This week's featured article
| A spaceship (much less commonly referred to as a glider or a fish) is a finite pattern that returns to its initial state after a number of generations (known as its period) but in a different location. The speed of a spaceship is the number of cells that the pattern moves during its period. This is expressed in terms of c (the metaphorical "speed of light") which is one cell per generation; thus, a spaceship with a period of five that moves two cells to the left during its period travels at the speed of 2c/5. Most known spaceships in Life travel either orthogonally (only horizontal or vertical displacement) or diagonally (equal horizontal and vertical displacement). However, several large Conway's Life spaceships have been engineered that travel in various oblique directions, and it is known that Life has spaceships that travel in all rational directions at arbitrarily slow speeds.
| The LifeWiki contains one of the most comprehensive catalogues of patterns available on the internet. Within it you will find:
Did you know...
- ... that greyships have been constructed with speeds of c/2, c/3, c/4, c/5 and 2c/5?
- ... that most greyships travel parallel to the stripes in their included agars, but a few travel perpendicular to the stripes, or "against the grain"?
- ... that a pattern has been constructed that calculates and prints out the digits of pi in decimal, and a similar one prints out the decimal digits of the Golden Ratio?
- ... that several different patterns have been constructed to calculate and display the sequence of prime numbers, and some have been adapted to display only prime pairs or Fermat primes?
- ... that two completely different types of knightships, the waterbear and the half-baked knightship, were constructed in 2014?
- ... that no Caterpillar-type spaceships were completed for almost ten years after the original Caterpillar was constructed in 2004, but that two different designs, the waterbear and the centipede, were finished in 2014?
- ... that the first spiral-growth pattern in Conway's Life was constructed in 2014?
- ... that among known glider recipes for irreducible objects, the Gemini spaceship has the largest known minimal recipe, currently 175,167 gliders -- the runner-up being the Parallel HBK with a 38,380-glider synthesis?
- ... that it was shown in 2014 that any salvo of gliders, no matter how tightly packed, can be constructed by crashing together gliders whose initial positions are farther apart than any chosen finite distance?
- ... that no spaceships with velocities other than c/4 diagonal (glider), c/2 orthogonal (*WSS variants), and c/12 diagonal (Corderships) had known glider syntheses until 2003, when a 2c/5 spaceship gun was constructed?