Otherworldly Java: Gateway to the Moon and beyond

A recent talk at QCon London by Diane Craig Davis really got me intrigued.

The talk is well worth watching.

"Diane Craig Davis is an astrodynamicist and principal systems engineer with NASA and USAF aerospace industry leader AI solutions. She designs spacecraft orbits with the Gateway trajectory team at Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, and previously navigated spacecraft to Mars and comets at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She is the lead researcher for the Deep Space Trajectory Explorer." (from QCon)

The talk was about Deep Space Trajectory Explorer, a JavaFX-based trajectory design and visualization software package that features a mix of custom 2D and 3D visualizations.

Astrodynamicist Diane Craig Davis worked with JavaFX developer Sean Phillips to find a way to visualise possible space trajectories of 3 body systems like the Earth, Moon and a space craft.

3 body systems are inherently chaotic.

The closest approach in an orbit is called a periapsis point. A collection of potential periapsis points is called a Poincaré map. Deep Space Trajectory Explorer enables a scientist to quickly and simply see a million possible orbits using a Poincaré map, and then whittle them down to find the best path for a trajectory.

Here are another 2 videos by Diane Craig Davis and Sean Phillips found on YouTube.

Sean Phillips also gave a great 2 hour talk and demo at Java User Group Dahlgren on JavaFX and NetBeans IDE.

Sean also created JavaFX 3D Library available on GitHub

"My new 3D library for JavaFX 8. F(X)yz provides useful primitives and more complex data visualization components that are unavailable in the base JavaFX 3D package."

Mikes Notes

  • JavaFX improves on Java Swing by requiring a lot less code to get things done.
  • Canvas enables on-the-fly rendering of millions of points for real-time animation.
  • Sean Phillips now works at John Hopkins.
  • NetBeans IDE looks great (not too cluttered).
  • I have only used Eclipse and Visual Studio to work with Java. Now I think I will switch to NetBeans.
  • Use Eclipse for XML technology.

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