ESO’s Sweet Ride

ALMA Transporter
Weighing in at 130 metric tons, this first of two transports will move the 7- and 12-meter antennas of the European Southern Observatory's Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA). Click on the image for additional views.
ESO
It's not quite as impressive as the crawler used to bring the Space Shuttle to the launch pad, but the European Southern Observatory has developed its own massive transport to move individual telescopes for the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) Observatory being built in Chile.

The U-shaped, 130-metric-ton "truck" has 28 wheels and is 10 meters wide, 20 meters long, and 6 meters high (33 by 66 by 20 feet) and will comfortably carry the 113-ton dishes for the array. When ALMA is completed in 2012, the field of 66 antennas will be as much as 15 kilometers (9 miles) wide.

The transport has passed its initial tests. Now it just needs some antennas to carry. I won't be surprised if sometime in the future it will be featured on the History Channel's Modern Marvels series. For details and more photos, see the ESO press release.

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