Simulation in the Final Frontier

by Hadean Platform

On the 18th February 2021 the new Mars rover Perseverance and its helicopter travel buddy Ingenuity successfully landed in the Jezera crater on Mars, 299 million kilometers away from Earth. And in just 3 years from now, the Artemis programme will see four humans return to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo mission. In such complex feats of engineering, calculating and simulating the various stages involved is a crucial part of planning and risk assessment. With humans venturing ever further into space, simulation technology will be pivotal to our exploration of this final frontier.

The inhospitality of space means that the tiniest increments of measurement and data can be the difference between a mission’s success and failure. Simulating all the celestial bodies and the gravitational forces that bind them all together is a computationally intensive task. Predicting their behaviour exactly requires running multiple tests and layering every variable into the simulation. These new challenges require an underlying technological infrastructure that is able to handle this massive scale and simulate every possible scenario. 

Simulating Celestial Bodies

Our demo showing the gravitational fields of celestial bodies in the solar system, showcases Hadean’s ability to simulate the movements of huge numbers of entities, without any sacrifice in performance. On the left hand side is the vertical plane (i.e. the view from above the solar system looking down), with the right hand side being horizontal. As the video progresses, we pan out, zooming through 7 orders of magnitude and giving different spatial perspectives on all entities and events. The properties use NASA’s celestial data, meaning any specific planet, moon or other celestial body could be identified.

Planning and simulation in an environment like space requires high precision and performance, which Hadean’s technology excels in providing. It is capable of creating simulations that imitate realistically the complex dynamics of space and involve millions of entities. Multiple viewpoints can be synthesised into a single coherent architecture, and scenarios can be run hundreds of times while users alter variables. 

The project has shown how Hadean is capable of simulating vast and complex data sets, which are normally reserved for HPC compute clusters. Being able to understand and simulate this distant world so easily, will help accelerate scientific research. Moreover, otherwise costly and risky missions can be better handled and prepared for, and while both research and training exercise can be carried out more accurately. 

A distributed model of simulation offers a host of benefits, from the huge compute power available to the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of its usage. So far however, models provided have been impeded by the bloated and out of date technology stack associated with cloud computing. Hadean’s platform reimagines and redefines how distributed simulations can be constructed. By replacing the excessive middleware and microservices with a simplified infrastructure, simulations can be built faster and by a significantly smaller number of developers. The result is simulations that are bigger, more complex, easier to deploy and less expensive. 

The mass migration of workloads to the cloud has been driven by its ability to provide flexibility and accessibility to high performance computing. From the emergence of organisations such as SpaceX to the commercialisation of space travel, we are clearly at the precipice of a new era of aerospace. Enabling people everywhere to better access the research and development of future projects such as these will be vastly accelerated by a sophisticated cloud-native simulation model. 

Experience first hand the unparalleled scale of cloud-native simulation, book a demo here.