The astrophysics community uses different tools for computational tasks such as complex systems simulations, radiative transfer calculations or big data. Programming languages like Fortran, C or C++ are commonly present in these tools and, generally, the language choice was made based on the need for performance. However, this comes at a cost: safety. For instance, a common source of error is the access to invalid memory regions, which produces random execution behaviors and affects the scientific interpretation of the results.
In 2015, Mozilla Research released the first stable version of a new programming language named Rust. Many features make this new language attractive for the scientific community, it is open source and it guarantees memory safety while offering zero-cost abstraction.
We explore the advantages and drawbacks of Rust for astrophysics by re-implementing the fundamental parts of Mercury-T, a Fortran code that simulates the dynamical and tidal evolution of multi-planet systems.
iSpec has been updated thanks to the contribution of several users:
iSpec now supports several radiative transfer codes: SPECTRUM, Turbospectrum, SME, MOOG and SYNTHE/WIDTH9.