AJava software program was developed that provides a solar system simulation, demonstrating the application of calculus to understanding and modeling how the real universe operates. The program can be modified by the user to study various changes in physical properties, and software implementations on behavior.

Using elementary physics, the acceleration of a mass in space due to the attraction to gravity to other masses can be solved. These accelerations can be numerically integrated in two or three axes to estimate velocity and positions. The motion can be drawn on a computer screen as an animation of the behavior of the system. In addition to the physics equations and integration software, a rudimentary user interface software is provided to allow for operation of the animation.

This work was done by E. Jackson of Langley Research Center. For more information, contact Langley Research Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Refer to LAR-18062-1.


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2016 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from this issue here.

Read more articles from the archives here.