Man's strength and ingenuity never cease to amaze. How in the world ancient builders transported and assembled the monuments of Stonehenge, for instance, mystifies modern generations. How today's experts move or tow the modern world's most massive structures can be even more amazing. Were war, famine or plague to wipe out civilization, perhaps surviving generations would look with wonder on some of our artifacts, too.
For us non-professionals, the most we'll ever have to tow is fifth-wheel trailers or maybe a few tons of cargo. And those who do have towing experience know that braking, turning and even parking become more complicated. If you think that's a pain, you should try towing a space shuttle down the road.
As engineers continue to build bigger and bigger structures, they also have to come up with more powerful vehicles and clever ways to tow them. Although some of these structures, like offshore rigs, were made to be moved, other things like buildings don't lend themselves as easily to moving. Each project poses its own challenges, and each involves things of monumental weight and proportions.
In the next few pages, we'll examine several marvels of heavy transportation. The first job involves a vehicle that moves around fine in outer space, but needs help getting around on the ground.