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Six absolutely enormous man-made objects, including a barge bigger than an aircraft carrier

Offshore from Australia
By Steve LeVine
AustraliaPublished Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Shell was awarded top-prize in the Total Energy innovation competition on Nov. 29 for the Prelude, imagined in the computerized image above, which will be the largest offshore floating production facility in the world. It measures 74 meters wide and 488 meters long, or more than four soccer fields end to end. When fully loaded with liquefied natural gas, it will weigh six times as much as the largest aircraft carrier and be capable of withstanding a category 5 cyclone.

Given its girth, we wondered what else out there is really, really big. Here are a few that we found.

Cern Particle Accelerator

Large-scale collision

When you are banging atomic-size particles into one another, you need something big—like this 16-mile loop with an electromagnet weighing 2,000 tonnes, equivalent to five jumbo jets.

Crane vessel

Heerema Marine Contractors
Offshore crane

Moving around big stuff offshore requires a crane vessel. This one, called the SSCV Thialf, is the largest ever made, at 201 meters long and 88 meters wide. It can lift 14,200 tonnes in weight.


Thyssen Krupp

The Krupp Bagger 288, the world’s largest excavator, is made by Thyssen Krupp. It is good for moving around buried stuff such as coal.

Flight simulator

Virtual motion

Want to familiarize yourself with the sensation of flying into Space? There is nothing like the world’s largest vertical motion simulator, a three-dimensional, 100-foot-tall contraption at Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

Space shuttle transporter

Out of the way

Elon Musk may need one of these. But if you, too, need to move your new space rocket, this NASA Crawler is just the thing. It’s based on the same technology that goes into gigantic earth-moving equipment.

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