|View static image|
|Number of cells||11880063|
|Discovered by|| Gabriel Nivasch|
|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.
Caterpillar was, in terms of its minimum 11,880,063 alive cells, one of the largest patterns constructed in Life up to that point (and was the largest "interesting" pattern until it was surpassed by the 0E0P metacell). 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.
- Dave Greene (28 June 2016). "Re: Caterpillar's little brother research". Retrieved on 2 July 2016.
- 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.