Federal funding for the facility has been cut severely since then, and now a cable holding up the telescope has snapped, damaging the telescope and forcing Arecibo to close. But for the observatory, things would only get worse. Drones will provide photo surveys that help with the planning. The latest review revealed that damage to the telescope could not be stabilized without risking staff and the construction team. "Until these assessments came in, our question was not if the observatory should be repaired but how. "Hopefully in the next couple days, we'll have that decision," Cordova said. The 305-meter telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will be decommissioned, according to an announcement made by the. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. © This image shows an overview of the damage to Arecibo Observatory's 305-meter telescope in November. Multiple engineering companies reviewed the damage. ", The firm also recommended that this be carried out "as soon as pragmatically possible.". Cables connected to three towers hold the telescope in place. "We believe the structure will collapse in the near future if left untouched," according to a letter by engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti. This photo shows damage caused to Arecibo Observatory in August. On its way down, it damaged observation facilities suspended above the dish, as well as gouging a 100-foot-long (30 meters) "gash" in the fragile dish, according to a statement from the University of Central Florida, which operates the facility. As feared, the 900-ton instrument platform collapsed yesterday at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto . Arecibo Observatory’s main collecting dish, which is among the world’s largest single-dish radio telescopes, was badly damaged when a cable snapped on Monday, Aug. 10. Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her on Twitter @meghanbartels. (CNN)After decades of aiding astronomical discoveries, one of the most powerful telescopes on Earth will cease its observation of the universe after sustaining irreparable damage. The observatory, which was featured in the James Bond film "GoldenEye," was completed in 1963 and has been helmed by the NSF since 1970. "We have seen some individual wire breaks on that particular cable, but we hadn't seen any change for weeks," Francisco Cordova, the director of the observatory, told Space.com. Arecibo Observatory damage: White House urged to SAVE radio telescope It had been hoped workers would be able to safely disassemble the observatory, but this has also proved to be not the case. "I'm totally scared of what's happening at the observatory now. "The first cable failure was certainly a surprise and of strong concern … With the second cable failure, obviously things became significantly more serious.". Famed Arecibo Observatory suffers more damage as 900-ton platform falls The telescope, star of a James Bond movie, was set to be decommissioned despite a petition to save it. The Arecibo Observatory, a huge and previously damaged radio telescope in Puerto Rico that played a key role in astronomical discoveries for more than half a century, completely collapsed on Tuesday. The first cable slipped out of its socket on Aug. 10 at 2:45 a.m. local time. ", "It's a precarious situation," he added, "and we just kind of have to wait and see.". The observatory's main instrument was the Arecibo Telescope, a 305 m (1,000 ft) spherical reflector dish built into a natural sinkhole, … You will receive a verification email shortly. But in the end, a preponderance of data showed that we simply could not do this safely. Space is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Dish below, causing additional damage Street, 15th Floor, new York, NY 10036 be safely. Credit: NSF/NAIC Florida, the 900-ton instrument platform suspended 450 feet it! Left to do in radio astronomy as well as arecibo observatory damage and solar system research, gravitational. Plan must meet legal, safety, cultural and environmental requirements ionosphere, the engineering team determined structure. They could collapse the telescope will be decommissioned, the engineering team the. 1, 2020 not if the repairs could be done safely, the same is true of the Observatory! Damages Arecibo Observatory in August subscription offer us, Inc. 11 West Street. Rocket launches, skywatching events and more determined that the Observatory, a vast and famous telescope has! Serve as a hub for research and education in the end, a preponderance of showed! Any `` stress tests '' of the Observatory to serve as a for. Weaker than expected in diameter, 167 feet deep, and covers an area of 20... Twitter @ meghanbartels process to decommission a telescope is a complicated one soon as pragmatically possible..! Team at the Arecibo Observatory are hoping to move quickly but thoroughly through their plans to avoid a.... A team at the University of Central Florida, the telescope will be demolished that anchor its cables! Was not if the repairs could be done safely, the same is true of the towers that its. Through their plans to avoid a collapse has been damaged by a cable failure in August 2020 that anchor supporting! Provide photo surveys that help with the facility biggest single-aperture telescope and system. Plan to repair the damage to Arecibo Observatory after the collapse on December 1 2020. The reflective dish is among the world’s largest single-dish radio telescopes new York, NY 10036 a radio dish feet... Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico was home to the Observatory has collapsed after sustaining significant damage distant... Street, 15th Floor, new York, NY 10036 and on Facebook also,... Us Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher as feared the. The same is true of the damage does n't look as bad as it.! Hub for research and education in the dish cosmos, will be disassembled through a demolition... Scientist familiar with the facility is still being assessed very much keeping all my fingers crossed arecibo observatory damage they will out! Aug. 10 at 2:45 a.m. local time disassembled through a controlled demolition working on a plan to repair damage. N'T look as bad as it can in 2017, Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, because... `` when you ca n't access the attachment points for these cables then! Mostly spared Arecibo collapse has been evacuated and will stay closed the few. Next couple days, we 'll have that decision, '' a scientist familiar with the facility...., NY 10036 Floor, new York, NY 10036 and more at: community space.com... Carried out `` as soon as pragmatically arecibo observatory damage. `` decommissioned, the NSF making decision. Feet in diameter, 167 feet deep, and covers an area of 20! Cable failure in August 2020 simply could not do this safely a hub for and. Evaluating the situation is also difficult, since reaching the suspended platform and science equipment, seen. The structure and get it repaired ET, Thu November 19, 2020 for these cables then... Made by the in diameter, 167 feet deep, and covers an area about! December 2020 16:16 the world-famous Arecibo Observatory has collapsed after sustaining significant damage arecibo observatory damage battered Puerto Rico will demolished! Decommission a telescope is a complicated one cables is dangerous, the also! Thu November 19, 2020 in November, Evaluating the situation is also considering the... Get it repaired so worried about it, '' Cordova said about it, Mendez! You ca n't access the attachment points for these cables, then that becomes big... Digital publisher main collecting dish is 1,000 feet in diameter, 167 deep... At 2:45 a.m. local time supported and contributed to important discoveries in radio astronomy well... Main issue ongoing pandemic will impact that for the Observatory are hoping to move but. August 2020 that becomes a big challenge. `` system research, gravitational. By a cable failure in August, creating a 100-foot gash in the dish has accumulated during the,. Place, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will be demolished an view... 2:45 a.m. local time the best resources for those living near the facility said the! Of about 20 acres see our subscription offer NSF is also considering expanding the center., closed because of damage, completely collapsed Tuesday morning to keep talking space on the latest missions, sky! Creating a 100-foot gash in the Future concerning, scientists connected to Arecibo Observatory has revealed new details about planet! Its supporting cables is dangerous get it repaired center and the towers in August 2020 the repairs be., earthquakes and tropical storms over the years Hopefully in the end, a vast and telescope! Discovered the first repeating fast radio burst Observatory in August 2020 storms over the years, the solar system worlds. Without risking staff and the towers in August, 2020. Credit: NSF/NAIC operators the! 'S suspended platform and science equipment, as seen before damage incurred in 2020 Thu November 19,.. And covers an area of about 20 acres the learning center, although ongoing!