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An enormous alien monster lands on Earth and goes on a rampage. He gets knocked out by a nuclear bomb, and falls into a temporary coma. The U.S. government decides to transport his body in a secure location... but can it be done?

What's the maximum mass and size of a giant alien monster which we could transport by land and/or by water?

Notes: You can't make the approximation that his mass is proportional to his size, because the big alien monster is made of exotic matter (which also explains why the nuclear bomb didn't completely obliterate him), so his density can be much higher or much lower than ordinary matter. And no, you can't slice his body into many pieces and transport each piece separately: his body is indestructible.

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  • $\begingroup$ Any reason you can't simply have him trip and faceplant instead of having to a ton of handwavium for a nuclear KO? *grins* $\endgroup$ – Shalvenay Apr 18 '15 at 6:08
  • $\begingroup$ I've good news for you with these much exotic matter we can throw it into a wormhole(at least the wormhole won't collapse) and just where did you say you want to put it? $\endgroup$ – user6760 Apr 18 '15 at 9:17
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    $\begingroup$ As far as water goes I am afraid the limit will be ridiculous: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/23913/… $\endgroup$ – David Mulder Apr 18 '15 at 9:51
  • $\begingroup$ For a practical example of moving a large, unwieldy object a long distance by land and sea, consider the accelerator magnet that was moved from Brookhaven to Fermilab a couple of years ago: muon-g-2.fnal.gov/bigmove Also Saturn V boosters moved by barge to KSC. (I'm assuming you use more-or-less existing transport, not completely building from scratch.) $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Apr 18 '15 at 17:17
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This is much easier done over water -- heavy-lift ships can move objects on the order of tens of thousands of tons routinely, and the largest examples of this type are able to handle objects in excess of 100,000 tons combined with immense bulk, up to and including an oil-platform-sized monster. Of course, you can also attach buoyancy devices to the beast until its seaworthy, then tow it with whatever quantity of towing vessels the thing's mass necessitates.

Over land, though -- such moves are far more difficult. Trains are the dominant industrial heavy-haulers of this day and age; no road-going vehicle can move the sheer amount of tonnage a modern locomotive consist-set can haul (well in excess of ten thousand tons, up to the thirty to fourty thousand ton range depending on how extreme your distributed power setup is). However, you're limited by the railroad loading gauge and by axle loading; this limit means that your monster has to fit within a 13-14' or so wide (up to perhaps 17' in the most generous of areas) by 23' high box, and to a practical maximum of a few hundred to a thousand tons with a well or Schnabel car and idlers; Schnabel car moves also limit the length to somewhat over 100' in order to avoid excessive in-train forces when negotiating curves.

If non-road-going vehicles are allowed, a crawler-transporter type vehicle can be used. These can handle several thousand tons of load, but would be limited to a dedicated, prebuilt crawlerway, and also to sizes in the 125' square range. If that's not an option, but large roads are available, the closest thing to a crawler-transporter that's still somewhat roadable would be a self-propelled modular transporter system. On-road load-limits for these range well into the hundreds of tons, and vehicle lengths and widths are limited by the design of available roads, but generally are smaller than crawler-transporters, especially widthwise. SPMTs are also agonizingly slow-moving compared to just about any other mode of transport discussed here, and transport over road subjects you to stringent height limits (13-14' unless you get an overheight permit in addition to the overwidth/slow-moving-load permitting you'd need for roading a SPMT, and even with an overheight permit, I doubt you could achieve more than 15-18' of clearance save for short distances on the order of a typical house move.)

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  • $\begingroup$ As I could remember, after World War II became clear that tanks with 50+ tons weight can't cross rivers due to most **bridges can't endure **this mass. I suppose It could limit possible load (or routes for it) for today also. $\endgroup$ – ADS Feb 3 '18 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ @ADS -- the prime limits on highway bridges are on a per-axle basis, and SPMTs have lots of axles $\endgroup$ – Shalvenay Feb 3 '18 at 21:18
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I have one option to add to Shalvenay's excellent answer - airships.

If there was time to build it a custom airship can haul a massive load slowly to anywhere in the planet.

Heavy lifting airships currently in design and prototype stages can each haul 500 tonnes. It's possible in fact that with a suitable frame for the creature a group of those could work together to lift even more.

For example here is a 66 tonne airship, the prototype is currently operational: http://jalopnik.com/5980630/new-colossal-airship-makes-successful-test-flight-and-reminds-us-how-much-we-love-airships

Here is another company talking about 50, 250 and 500 tonne airships although obviously it may never actually come to pass: http://www.varialift.com/

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a citation for the heavy lift airships? $\endgroup$ – March Ho Apr 18 '15 at 9:28
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    $\begingroup$ @MarchHo Added some links $\endgroup$ – Tim B Apr 18 '15 at 9:56
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There's virtually no upper limit to what we could transport by water. If he floats you just tow him. If he sinks you attach floatation to him until he floats then you tow him. The capacity of a ship doesn't enter into this as you can bring a lot of ships into the picture. Grab the oceangoing tugs, grab the icebreakers (they're way overpowered for their size), grab the major warships of the world (warships are built to go fast, they are likewise overpowered for their size.) You don't need to be able to go fast, just fast enough to overcome any ocean currents. 5mph is enough to overcome any sustained ocean current.

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