The National Science Foundation announced on Thursday that the Arecibo telescope, which is well-known in Puerto Rico, will be dismantled after 57 years of service due to the danger of a cable break.
On August 10 and November 6, two cables supported a 900-ton telescope instrument over a 1,000-foot (305-meter) diameter radio antenna.
Engineers worry that other cables may break at any time, making any repair attempts too dangerous.
The telescope is one of the largest telescopes in the world and has become a tool for many astronomical discoveries.
NSF director Sethuraman Panchanathan stated that the foundation “prioritizes the safety of staff, Arecibo observatory staff and visitors, and despite the misfortune, this still makes this decision necessary.”
“For nearly sixty years, the Arecibo Observatory has been a beacon of breakthrough science and what kind of partnerships it has established with the community.”
Using the hashtag “WhatAreciboMeansToMe”, both professional and amateur astronomers spread the sad news in the news on Twitter. These astronomers have used telescopes for decades of observations.
Local astronomer Kevin Ortiz Ceballos wrote on Twitter: “Arecibo is not only a telescope, but also the reason why I entered astronomy.
Karen Masters, a professor of astrophysics at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, posted a picture of herself and her baby daughter near the radio station in 2008, saying that she was “sad Desperate and disappointed.”
An action scene in the James Bond movie “Golden Eye” takes place above a telescope, and in the movie “Contact”, an astronomer played by Jodie Foster uses the observatory to search for alien signals.
The engineering company inspecting the structure concluded that the remaining cables may be weaker than expected and recommended controlled removal, which the Foundation accepted.
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