US officials said on Thursday that Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory may still have a future after the massive telescope collapsed sharply this week.
The structure was destroyed on Tuesday, when its 900-ton receiver platform was suspended 450 feet (140 meters) in the air, fell and fell into the radio antenna below.
Ralph Gome, director of the Astronomical Science Department of the National Science Foundation, said: “The National Science Foundation has not shut down the Arecibo Observatory.”
He told reporters: “The National Security Agency is very sad about this,” he added, adding that the agency “has very clear procedures for funding and building large-scale infrastructure including telescopes… we will replace them now. It’s too early to comment…”
Engineers recently warned of the deteriorating condition of the telescope, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) only announced its dismantling last month.
This year, two cables have secured the platform above a 1,000-foot (300-meter) diameter radio antenna and finally gave way on Tuesday morning.
The video showed the final cable break and the platform tilted down to the broadcast antenna before the dust cloud erupted.
The telescope is one of the largest telescopes in the world and has been a tool for many astronomical discoveries since the 1960s.
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