It had been visited by James Bond, Mulder & Scully, and Carl Sagan. It is one of the most iconic observatories in the world and will live forever in the history of astronomy. But after the devastating damage from broken cables, the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico is too damaged. After 57 years, the telescope will be decommissioned. Here’s more from ScienceMag:
Ralph Gaume, director of NSF’s astronomy division, said at the briefing the agency wants to preserve other instruments at the site, as well as the visitor and outreach center. But they are under threat if the telescope structure collapses. That would bring the 900-ton instrument platform, suspended 137 meters above the 305-meter-wide dish, crashing down. Flailing cables could damage other buildings on the site, as could the three support towers if they fell, too. “There is a serious risk of an unexpected and uncontrolled collapse,” Gaume said. “A controlled decommissioning gives us the opportunity to preserve valuable assets that the observatory has.”
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