From Chandra X-Ray Space Telescope to Hong Kong International Airport here are 12 of the World’s Most Insane Engineering Marvels.
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6. Chandra X-Ray Space Telescope
Along with the Hubble Space Telescope Chandra is one of NASA’s most advanced space observatories. Chandra has advanced astronomers knowledge of stars, galaxies, black holes and the origin of life inducing elements. It was appropriately and fittingly named after Indian-American astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, whose work on black holes earned him a Nobel Prize in physics in 1983. Originally launched in 1999 the observatories longevity and scientific value has made it one of NASA’s most successful missions. In 2014 Chandra observed the awe-inspiring Tycho supernova remnant, which was created by the explosion of a white dwarf star.
5. Shasta Dam
Stretching mightily across the Sacramento River in Northern California construction of the Shasta Dam took place from 1938 to 1945. Once completed it would back up water for over 35 miles to form Shasta Lake, California’s largest reservoir and a place that is visited by millions of vacationers annually. Frank Crowe, who had just helped finish the Hoover Dam oversaw the entire project, which included 4,700 workers building what was the second largest concrete dam in the country. Twelve million tons of gravel was needed for the project. Luckily a substantial supply was located in the nearby city of Redding. To transport this large quantity of gravel the world’s longest conveyor belt was constructed. It was 9.6 miles long and operated 24/7 for several years.
4. Millau Viaduct
Soaring high above the clouds, the world was captivated by the Millau Viaduct when it opened in December 2004. The idea that the viaduct only took three years to build is almost as astounding as the bridge itself. Towers on the incredible structure rise to a height of one thousand one hundred and twenty-five feet, making it the tallest bridge in the world. Seven pillars weighing 700 tons each were built for the project that had to be placed in exactly the right place for the bridge to be a success. Multiple satellite signals were used to help pinpoint the right spots for the pillars to be placed. Bridge specialist Michel Virlogeux and renowned British architect Norman Foster were employed to design the Millau Viaduct which is widely regarded as an engineering marvel that has no equal.
3. Hubble Space Telescope
Anytime you hear news about a new distant star or planet found in outer space it was likely discovered with the use of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has rested in low Earth orbit since 1990. It’s named after Edwin Hubble, who took the largest telescopes of his day to the Mt. Wilson Observatory near Pasadena, California and discovered countless unknown planets and galaxies in the 1920’s. Experts have published over fourteen thousand scientific papers using data from the space telescope, making it one of the most productive instruments of science in history. At launch, it weighed twenty-four thousand pounds, and today it is twenty-seven thousand pounds and 43.5 feet long.
2. Hong Kong International Airport
Though the Kansai International Airport in Japan was the first to be entirely built on an artificial island when it opened in 1994, it lies on soft land that has been sinking much more quickly than anticipated, ultimately making the project a potentially colossal failure. The Hong Kong International Airport went a lot better. The project took six years and around twenty billion dollars to build making it one of the biggest projects in the aviation industry. It lies on Chek Lap Kok, an island that is mostly made of land reclaimed for the construction of the airport. The 24-hour airport is one of the busiest in the world and holds one of the Earth’s largest passenger terminal buildings
The International Space Station is not only the largest human-made object in orbit, but it also represents a collaboration of nations around the world. Five space agencies (NASA, Russia’s Roscosmos (ross cosmos), the European Space Agency, The Canadian Space Agency and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) representing fifteen countries were involved in constructing the one hundred billion dollar station. The structure was taken and built piece by piece in orbit and has been continuously occupied since November 2, 2000. Current plans call for ISS to be in operation until 2024, by which time some of its first components will be nearly three decades old.