Arecibo Observatory Radio Telescope Collapses after Cable Breaks

The Arecibo radio telescope’s hanging platform has collapsed and crashed through its radio dish after its last cable snapped.

The Arecibo radio telescope’s hanging platform has collapsed and crashed through its radio dish after its last cable snapped at about 8 a.m. local time.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) said last 19 November that it decided to decommission the observatory after two cable breaks that occurred during the recent months compromised the integrity of the platform.

“I feel sick in my stomach. Truthfully, it was a lot of hard work by a lot of people trying to restore this facility. It’s disappointing we weren’t successful. It’s really a hard morning,” said Ramon Lugo, director of the Florida Space Institute at the University of Central Florida, which manages the telescope. 

The NSF said it is working with stakeholders to “assess the situation”, and that no injuries were reported. 

“NSF is saddened by this development. As we move forward, we will be looking for ways to assist the scientific community and maintain our strong relationship with the people of Puerto Rico,” said the NSF in their Twitter account.

The Aceribo telescope has been in operation for 57 years, played and has observed deep space targets, and used powerful lasers to analyze the composition and behavior of Earth’s upper atmosphere.


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