ESOcast 56: Gentle Giants in the Desert

5 March, 2013

How do you move a 100-tonne giant ALMA antenna 30 kilometers up onto the oxygen-starved Chajnantor Plateau, 5000 meters above sea level and finish the job with millimeter precision?
Thankfully we have Otto and Lore, the cutting-edge ALMA transporters. The numbers are staggering: 20 meters long, 10 meters wide, weighing 130 tones each, housing two blistering 700-horsepower engines and capable of reaching 20 kilometers/hour; Otto and Lore are moving megastructures.
More than just gigantic workhorses, Otto and Lore are also triumphs of precision — gently moving parts of the world’s largest astronomical project into place to a hair’s breadth precision. To watch these gentle giants in action, follow this video.
Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO).