Look at This Monstrous Moving Machine Illuminated by Starlight

By Attila Nagy on at

No, this enormous diesel powered beast is not a discarded movie prop from James Cameron's Aliens. He is Otto, one of the two huge transporters of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array radio telescope field, at the high site of Chajnantor Plateau, Atacama Desert, Chile.

Otto, and his twin, Lore move the 12-metre, 95-tonne dishes across the Chilean plateau. Both transporters were specially designed and built for the ALMA. You can read more about them in a previous Gizmodo article:

They measure 20 metres long, 10 metres wide and 6 metres high, spreading their 130-tonne weight over 28 tires. Each transporter is powered by a 700HP diesel engine (actually only about 450HP given the altitude and thinness of air) and carries 3000 litres of fuel. And if you thought it was tough for the engines to breath up there, the backrest of the driver's seat is shaped to allow him to wear the necessary oxygen tank while driving. These two vehicles top out at a brisk 20 km/h or 12 km/h when carrying an antenna.

Image credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky