The size of the universe is beyond the comprehension of humans, so Speck was developed to give a frame of reference to better understand just how large space truly is. The project is called Speck because it is meant to make one feel like just that: a speck of dust in comparison to the entirety of the universe.
What it does
Speck allows for a user to scale the distances of "near" objects in space to a point where it is easier to visualize. For example, one can fit the solar system between Los Angeles and New York City in order to find where each planet would lie if shrunk to fit in the USA.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
Finding a way to bridge between the Wolfram language and python proved to be difficult. Eventually, the data was saved to a file in a known format instead of being passed directly from program to program. Additionally, we had to figure out the Flask API since we did not have prior experience with it.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The Speck application is indeed capable of demonstrating the vastness of space. Multiple web services and technologies were combined to produce Speck, but the final product meshes together well. As a first foray into web development, the front-end could use work, but it is still straightforward and easy to use.
What we learned
What's next for Speck
Overall the project was very successful. We would like to add ways for users to select more planets and stars to view at once, and the front-end needs more work since it is currently very primitive. The project would need to be hosted for actual users to view over the internet. Speck could prove to be a powerful educational tool to inspire students to develop new, innovative ways to explore the universe.