#2. Giant Aircraft Designed to Carry Other Aircraft
How the hell is this thing supposed to fly? It can and it does, apparently. This is the Myasishchev VM-T, and it's designed to carry space shuttles, and parts for them. That thing on its back that's bigger than the actual plane is the space shuttle's fuel tank, just so you know how much juice it took to get one of those things into the air.
It still managed to fly just fine, just as it did when it was somehow carrying the shuttle itself on its back:
But the per-passenger baggage limit is still 50 lbs.
The plane was only in use for a few years, because the Soviet shuttle program, after its first and only mission, ran out of money and got canceled, much like the Soviet Union itself.
But engineers have been designing aircraft intended to carry other aircraft for around 80 years. Here's an old-timey blimp that acted as an aerial aircraft carrier/mothership:
It was filled with helium, so at least they sounded like aliens.
That's the U.S. Navy's Macon, one of the largest things we've ever managed to make fly.
via Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
"Who wants to join the 50-Foot-High Club?"
We've already shown you the incredible pictures of how they constructed these beasts. The Navy had two, each zeppelin hauling five fighter planes, as well as the 91 crew members they needed to get the damn thing off the ground.
Moffett Field Historical Society
Enemies targeted it with arrows and pins on sticks.
Whenever they were needed, the planes could swarm out of the airship like angry bees. And they could re-dock with it in mid-air by grappling onto a hook mounted on the underside of the craft.
Harold B. Miller
You actually had to fail the sanity test to become a pilot back then.
Of course, after that little Hindenburg mishap, people suddenly realized that giant airships had some disastrous shortcomings, so we don't really bother building them bigger than the Goodyear Blimp anymore.
#1. Hydroelectric Dams Are Full of Mind-Bogglingly Huge Machines
This guy is standing in front of one of the 24 giant turbines of La Rance Barrage, a dam in France which held the record for the largest tidal power plant until the Koreans opened their Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station in 2011. He's probably hoping desperately that nobody switches it on. But if you think that's absurdly huge, check out these guys installing the turbine into the Grand Coulee Dam in 1974.
US Department of the Interior
It looks like they're installing a new hyperdrive into the Enterprise for J.J. Abrams' next Star Trek sequel.
But hey, it takes some massive and terrifying machinery if you're trying to contain this shit:
Either this is CGI from a Roland Emmerich movie, or those tiny people have about five seconds to live. In reality, this is the emergency spillway of the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station in Russia, and those people are probably perfectly safe. Probably.
Russia would surely publicize any potential danger.
See the tiny little micro-people standing around at the top right? Spillways like these help to give excess water somewhere to go when it gets too high, because if it goes somewhere you don't want it to go, it can do some serious damage. Like what happened at this same dam back in 2009, when torrents of water crashed through the turbine room. Here's what it looked like before:
Like an airport, minus the Starbucks and strip searches.
Voice of Russia
Like an airport ... after every plane crashes into the terminal.
Yes, water did that. When one of the dam's failsafes, well, failed, the full force of nature's liquid fury rushed into the turbine room, utterly destroying it and killing 75 people in the process. Here's what it did to one of those massive turbines we mentioned earlier:
Sadly, their policy didn't cover acts of "HOLY FUCKING SHIT!"
Nine out of the 10 turbines that powered the plant were ripped out of the concrete and left lying around like toys on some ungrateful kid's bedroom floor. The scale of the catastrophe was so huge that Vladimir Putin came to check out the one force of nature that's almost as powerful as he is.
Alexey Druzhinan/AFP/Getty Images
"I'm telling you this was a hurricane caused by the gays. I've been told it's possible to be raining men."
For more photos that'll make you look twice, check out 24 Famous Photos You Won't Believe Were Fake and 17 Creepy Photographs You Won't Believe Aren't Fake.
Related Reading: Nature can do some insanely huge things too, like this crab the size of your car. If you'd prefer huge versions of things you loved as a kid, we can help with that too. And hey, here's a laser the size and shape of the death star. Since you're still reading, you'll probably want to check out these apocalyptic explosions.