Science

Another cable failure spells the end of the famous Arecibo Radio Telescope

We reported last August that a cable malfunction at the iconic Arecibo Observatory had caused severe damage to the radio telescope dish. Unfortunately, the second cable failed at the radio observatory, and the famous 1000-foot radio telescope will have to be demolished. An engineering company called Thorton Tomasetti decided that the radio dish and 900-ton hardware platform were too stable to be repaired.

It was Arecibo It was once the largest single-dish radio telescope in the entire world and has been in service for 57 years. The telescope receives funding from the US National Science Foundation and is operated by the University of Central Florida. It has been featured in movies, including Contact and Goldeneye.

After cutting the first support cable and cutting a 100-foot gap in the dish, the plan was to fix it. However, the second cable was cut on November 6. The second cable break was unexpected as it was well below the expected breaking strength. Further examination found that the other main cables had broken wires and that some auxiliary cables were slipping out of their sockets.

The current plan is to dismantle the remaining components of the tool and temporarily close other facilities on site. Equipment that could be damaged if catastrophic components of the telescope malfunction is moved. Once the demolition of the giant radio telescope is complete, the science and education centers will be restored.

There is no indication at this time that the telescope itself will be reconstructed. Scientists say that the Arecibo observatory has changed our understanding of the ionosphere and used to search for life in the universe using the SETI program. Dismantling the radio telescope is necessary to maintain the ability to use the other assets of the observatory.

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