We mentioned back in August that a cable failure at the iconic Arecibo Observatory caused significant damage to the dish in the radio telescope. Unfortunately, another cable at the radio observatory failed and the famous radio foot with a diameter of 1000 feet had to be demolished. An engineering firm called Thorton Tomasetti has determined that the radio bowl and 900-ton instrument platform are too unstable for repair.
Arecibo was once the largest single-bowl radio telescope in the world and has been in service for 57 years. The telescope receives funding from the US National Science Foundation and was operated by the University of Central Florida. It has starred in films including Contact and Goldeneye.
After the first support cable snapped and cut a 1
The current plan is to dismantle the remaining components of the instrument and temporarily close other installations on site. Equipment that could potentially be damaged if the telescopic components fail catastrophically is moved. Once the demolition of the giant radio telescope is completed, science and education centers will be restored.
There are no indications at present that the telescope itself will be rebuilt. Scientists say that the Arecibo Observatory has transformed our understanding of the ionosphere and has been used to search for life in the cosmos with the SETI program. Disassembly of the radio telescope is necessary to maintain the ability to use other assets at the observatory.