User:Sphenocorona/List of known climbers

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The main kind of engineered spaceships are the caterpillar or climber-based spaceships. These ships are based on a special kind of re-burnable fuse reaction sometimes referred to as a climber. To be able to make spaceships, climbers and their tracks must have a few important properties: they must be reburnable any arbitrarily large number of times, their absolute speed according to Manhattan distance must be slower than c/2, and it must be possible to use them to produce both over-unity and under-unity reactions without damaging the fuse (ie. generate excess material or consume excess material). These climbers are thus the main source of medium-period spaceships at unusual or awkward velocities. From this point forward, such ships in general will be referred to as "climber-based spaceships" in this article, and "caterpillar" will be reserved for the first such spaceship.

Climbers with extant spaceships

17c/45 Pi Climber

The 17c/45 reaction was the first climber reaction used to build a spaceship, the caterpillar. More details can be found on their respective pages. The caterpillar used a structure known as a helix to provide support at the front in a destructive manner; the rest of the ship then slowly builds the helix up as travels forward starting at the back and growing as it progresses forward. The helix has a period 6 times that of the base climber reaction, which requires a long time to build, contributing to the ship's enormous size. A 5x helix has been found, making it possible to make a much smaller 17c/45 climber ship, but as of 27 June 2016 no ship using the simpler helix has been constructed.

31c/240 Herschel Climbers

The 31c/240 orthogonal Herschel fuse was the second climber reaction to be used in a spaceship, and two distinct ships have been made from this reaction. Since it is slower than a glider, these ships do not require helices, instead simply bouncing forward gliders off forward streams of *WSSes to return and build the front of the climber trails.

(23,5)c/79 Herschel Climbers

The first known oblique climber-based spaceship was based off a reaction where a Herschel travels along a track, displaced by (23,5) every 79 generations and emitting a glider behind it which could be used by another climber moving in the same direction. These climbers could also climb trails made of various still lives as well as gliders, which turned out to be extremely fortunate in allowing the 2x helix for the ship to support the climbers which needed fuel every single period - the helix emits both a glider and a loaf, which happen to be positioned perfectly to allow a climber to alternate between burning the two. The Waterbear is also by far the smallest known climber-based spaceship constructed as of its discovery.

Engineerable "Climbers"

While generating new types of engineerable climbers is very significant, generating new velocities by adjusting the aspects of velocity that can be adjusted is normally not considered as important.

Half-Bakery + Glider as a Climber

While the half-bakery reaction has been used to build half-baked knightships, these ships are very slow as they use universal constructor salvos to regenerate the few gliders that pass through the half-bakery chains. It should also be possible, however, to have gliders run through the ship at a much lower period by treating the ship more like a normal climber-based ship rather than as a universal constructor. Discussion of this second type of half-bakery knightship can be found here.


Caterloopillars can travel at any orthogonal velocity slower than c/4; they, however, rely also on universal constructor technology.

Climbers without extant spaceships

(13,1)c/31 Pseudo-B Climbers

An interesting climber in that the climbing reaction never has a chance to isolate itself into separate B and spark or herschel and spark- the B never reaches the Herschel stage and deleting the debris behind the B entirely will destroy the climber. The main setback with this reaction is that it moves so quickly that it requires a very expensive helix, and the only known helices for its velocity have base period multiples greater than x15. Can burn still lives but its native (re-emitted) tracks are composed of gliders, just like the climbers in the Waterbear. More about this reaction can be found here.

(27,1)c/72 Herschel Climbers

These reactions have the unfortunate situation that the climbing reaction cannot be used to rephase the track to any arbitrary alignment and/or timing relative to other tracks, and the track cannot be 'frozen' as still lives to adjust its timing arbitrarily either. The best known helix is more expensive and higher period than the Waterbear's, but less so than the Caterpillar's. Discussion about this reaction can be found here.

(34,7)c/156 Herschel Climbers

Unlike the (27,1)c/72 climbers, the (34,7)c/156 reaction allows for arbitrary rephasings. However, reburnable tracks have only been found with four or more Herschels per climber, complicating usage of this reaction as the front end requires at least four blocks to be made per period. Additionally, glider paths through the track may be somewhat limited for the same reason. So far it is also not known how to generate an at-unity climbing reaction. Can burn gliders, but its native tracks are composed of blocks. More about this reaction can be found here.

Fuses with potential to become climbers

(8,1)c/32 p128 Herschel Fuse

This fuse is quite similar in behavior to the (34,7)c/156 climber and 31c/240 climber fuses. A similar strategy for cleanup may allow a climber reaction to be made from it. RLE can be found at the end of this post.

(40,7)c/244 Herschel Fuse

This fuse may be even harder to clean than the (8,1)c/32 fuse as it only produces gliders in one direction, so it may be very difficult to find a clean-up for every individual Herschel's excess debris. RLE can be found in this post.