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.
From Plastic Waste Building Blocks to SunPower Rooftop Solar Panel here are 10 Most Efficient Machines That Change Lives. Subscribe to Talltanic #5 - SunPower Rooftop Solar Panel The solar panel company, SunPower, claimed another world record for having the most efficient solar panel in 2016. The California-based company announced in early 2016 that the solar panel they were about to release could convert 25% of the light that hits it into electricity. If that doesn’t seem like much know that you only get 15% to 18% energy converted from most other solar panel makers. Being an efficient solar panel is important, the more efficient it is, the less panels you need to cover your energy needs. SunPower boasts that their panels convert up to 70% more energy in the same space compared to their traditional competitors. Solar energy in itself is a more efficient way of harnessing energy; you’re getting it directly from the sun as opposed to from an electric company. With SunPower concentrating on generating more energy in less space, I’m sure they will be giving us a brand new even more efficient solar panel in the years to come. #4 - Pilot Pilot is the smart earpiece language translator that is going to change the way we communicate and travel around the world. The engineers at Waverly Labs are the ones that are combining wearable technology with machine translation. Talk about an innovative idea to make the world a more efficient place. Having things lost in translation can be one of the biggest time wasters out there, depending on what your job is, but with Pilot, we will be able to clearly understand each other regardless of what language we are speaking. The way it works is that the user has the device programmed in their language, now when they travel or speak to someone who speaks a different language, the user’s language will be the one they hear. This smart earpiece is going to solve a lot of our global problems, the ones involving language translation that is. #3 - The Copenhagen Wheel For a long time, people thought that the evolutionary bicycle would never be able to be improved upon. There was some truth to the rumor, that is until the team from MIT gave the old school classic, an efficient upgrade. Enter the Copenhagen Wheel. Have you ever been riding a bike and wonder what would happen if you could harness all of that extra energy created when you peddled? Now, with the addition of the Copenhagen Wheel and the smartphone app that controls it, you can ride your bicycle and store the unused energy inside the Copenhagen mechanism to use later, at your leisure. You use the app to lock and unlock your bike, change gears and select how you want your motor to assist you, whether it be a push up a hill or a consistent pull throughout your ride. You can also sync the app with friends so you can meet up for a bike ride whenever you want. #2 - The Tiger Stone Brick Laying Machine Engineers are constantly trying to find simpler, more efficient ways in which to do things. So, of course, something genius like this was bound to be designed, it was just a matter of time. The Tiger Stone requires a team of one to three people to put the bricks or cobblestones in the machine so they lay in the right directions. The machine is electric powered and has very little moving parts, allowing gravity to do most of the work, so the end result is rather quiet for such a large machine. The Tiger Stone Brick Layer has been called the “Road Printer” because of its efficiency. The Tiger Stone can lay down 400 yards of road per day whereas it takes a man a whole day to complete just 100 yards of road manually. #1 - Plastic Waste Building Blocks The Latin company Conceptos Plasticos are the creative geniuses behind these recycled building materials. They sought to diminish two of the very real problems people faced within the community, the overabundance of rubber and plastic waste and the lack of affordable housing. Conceptos Plasticos works with local communities to source the rubber and plastic waste, turn it into the building blocks you see here and then trains the people in the communities how to build their very own house. With these building blocks, locals can build homes for themselves as well as emergency shelters, community halls, and even classrooms. The pieces are easy to work with and have been treated with an additive that makes the product fire-resistant as well as waterproof, and the structures, once built, can even resist earthquakes. By using their machines to create this more efficient building material, this company has reduced construction costs by 30% for each unit built, and due to the durability of the blocks, the structures won’t experience deterioration for at least 500 years. That’s a well-made brick if it lasts over 500 years, and the best part is that each block is made entirely from recycled trash.