Westworld: Dr. Ford's Gigantic World Sculpting Machine Is A Real Thing

In the fourth episode of Westworld entitled "Dissonance Theory", we are finally introduced to a gigantic machine that Anthony Hopkins' character Doctor Ford uses to literally change the landscape of Westworld. The machine seems like something from the far future, a product of science fiction — but it isn't. What you see in the episode is a something called the Bagger 293, a Bucket Wheel Excavator the size of an ocean liner on land. See a video about this real-life piece of machinery, after the jump.

The Bagger 293 is a giant bucket-wheel excavator built in Germany in 1995. The monster of a machine has passed NASA's Crawler-Transporter, used to move the space shuttle and Apollo space craft as the biggest landbound machine of all time according to the Guiness Book Of World Records. It cost $100 million to build, took five years to design and manufacture, and five years to assemble. Here is a bit more information:

It requires a crew of five to operate and can move over 8.5 million cubic feet of earth per day. The Bagger 293 uses a large 70-foot rotating wheel at the end of a long arm. This wheel has a series of buckets attached, and as the wheel rotates the buckets pick up the earth and dump it onto a conveyor belt. The conveyor belts will transport the earth to other vehicles for removal to the dumping site.

Bagger 293 is 96 metres (314.9 feet) tall (highest terrestrial vehicle, size shared with Bagger 288). It is 225 metres (738.2 feet) long (same as Bagger 287), weighs 14,200 tonnes (31.3 million pounds), and requires five people to operate. The bucket-wheel itself is over 21.3 metres (over 70 feet) in diameter with 18 buckets, each of which can hold over 15 cubic metres of material. It can move 240,000 cubic metres (218,880 tonnes) of soil per day (the same as Bagger 288).

The Bagger 293 weighs more than 31 million pounds and is the size of a 30 story building. The machine is used in coal mines of Western Germany, digging the earth above the buried coal, as well as the coal itself.

So no, the machine isn't used to shape the landscape in the way we see it being used in Westworld, but theoretically, it could be used to "reset" the environment. Does this tell us anything about the show? Probably not. We do know the show takes place somewhere in the 21st Century, and I don't think this piece of machinery helps to date where in the next 83 years the show is supposedly set. I was surprised to learn that it was an actual piece of machinery that we have today on Earth and wanted to share this with fellow Westworld fans.