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Revision as of 17:56, 11 May 2019 by Ian07 (talk | contribs) (Refactored "largest interesting pattern" due to 0E0P metacell and it being entirely subjective in the first place)
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Caterpillar image
Pattern type Spaceship
Number of cells 11880063
Bounding box 4195×330721
Direction Orthogonal
Period 270
Mod 270
Speed 17c/45
Speed (unsimplified) 102c/270
Heat 12114897.5
Discovered by Gabriel Nivasch
David Bell
Jason Summers
Year of discovery 2004

The Caterpillar is the first 17c/45 spaceship that was constructed, and is the first crawler-based engineered spaceship, making use of the 17c/45 reaction. It was created via a combination of manually-constructed parts put together by David Bell, Jason Summers and Gabriel Nivasch and a computer-aided construction coded by Nivasch. The Caterpillar's construction took place over a long period of time, but it was completed on December 31, 2004. It has 11,880,063 cells; this, however, can be reduced to 11,880,039 cells through trivial modification.[1]

Caterpillar was, in terms of its minimum 11,880,063 alive cells, one of the largest patterns constructed in Life up to that point. The image to the right is zoomed out to a scale of 32 cells per pixel and still only shows the top 3% of it. Encoded as an RLE file, it is over 29MB in size. Despite this, it moves at the speed of 17c/45, which is the fourth fastest orthogonal speed with a known spaceship.



Various zoom levels of caterpillar demonstrating its size

See also


  1. Dave Greene (28 June 2016). "Re: Caterpillar's little brother research". Retrieved on 2 July 2016.

External links

  • Caterpillar at the Life Lexicon
  • "The 17c/45 Caterpillar spaceship". Gabriel Nivasch's Life page (January 2005). A "brief overview" of how the Caterpillar works (with illustrations and RLE files of parts), the pattern in RLE format, plus complete C++ & RLE sources for assembling it.
  • "17c/45 "Caterpillar" spaceship". Jason Summer's Life page. A short summary of what the Caterpillar is with a few pictures, plus the pattern in RLE and .mc (macrocell) formats. Golly loads the macrocell file much more quickly than the RLE.