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Beasts of burden

Many hands make light work, as the old saying goes, although perhaps in this case the phrase "many wheels make light work" is more appropriate. Pictured here is Otto, one of the two ALMA Transporters along with its companion Lore. Otto and Lore were responsible for carrying the ALMA antennas up to the Chajnantor Plateau, a site some 5000 metres above sea level in northern Chile. After placing the antennas, the two trucks have the additional task of repositioning them according to the scientists' requirements. Otto can be seen in action in this video.

These two powerful beasts are the ultimate in custom vehicles. They were designed specifically for ESO by the German vehicle manufacturer Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik, who have an impressive history of transporting heavy loads like the Antares rocket and an oil platform weighing in at a staggering 15 000 tonnes!

The transporters are identical except for the colour of the safety rails on the vehicle. Otto has red rails, as seen in the picture, and Lore can be identified by a set of green rails. Each individual truck is powered by two diesel engines each with a power output of 700 horsepower, totalling 1400 horsepower per vehicle. Both trucks can also be controlled remotely, allowing operators a clear view when positioning the antennas with millimetre accuracy.

The ALMA transporters are such an integral part of the ALMA facility that they can almost be considered as part of the telescope. Without the two vehicles, the construction, operation, and maintenance of the array would not be possible.

This image was taken by José Velásquez.

Credit:

José Velásquez/ESO

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About the Image

Id:potw1416a
Type:Photographic
Release date:21 April 2014, 10:00
Size:954 x 614 px

About the Object

Name:ALMA transporters
Type:• Unspecified : Technology : Observatory
• X - ALMA

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