A Natural Gas Drilling Platform
Until we start lassoing asteroids for their minerals, it's a safe bet that the record for the most unfathomably gigantic object ever moved by human beings will be held by the Troll A Platform. The Troll A, an offshore natural gas drilling platform off the west coast of Norway, weighs an astonishing 1.2 million tons (1.1 million metric tons) and stands 1,548 feet (471.8 meters) tall, which makes it both the heaviest and the tallest thing that people have transported from one spot to another [sources: Statoil].
Getting the platform to its location 174 miles (280 kilometers) from the Norwegian coast required the services of 10 tugboats -- eight spread out in front pulling the platform, and another two behind it to steer. The unwieldy armada was able to travel at just one knot per hour, so that it took seven days and six hours to get to the destination. Once there, the tugs moved into a star formation around the platform to support it as it was ballasted to stabilize it, and piles were driven 118 feet (36 meters) into the sea bed to hold the platform in place [source: Potter].
Author's Note: 10 Heaviest Objects Mankind Has Ever Moved
I'm fascinated with moving heavy objects, in part because when I was a child, my father actually bought an apartment house that was about to be torn down and moved it to a lot a few yards away that he owned. As I remember, he got a pretty good deal on the building itself, and jacking it up, tearing down the foundation and rolling it up the hill to its new location was a fairly simple process. What turned out to be difficult were the local zoning and building inspection bureaucrats, who kept the project stalled for a couple of years, until they finally relented and allowed my father to build a foundation under the building. Apparently, the idea of moving a building was strange and scary to them, and they figured it would come sliding down the hill. We owned the apartment house for a number of years before he sold it to a friend. As far as I know, the building is still in the spot where my dad moved it.
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Despite what the nursery rhyme says, London Bridge is not falling down and never has. But the bridge spanning the Thames has been rebuilt over and over.