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Farewell, Arecibo

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  • Farewell, Arecibo

    Sadly, it's time to say good by to an iconic bit of science history: the Arecibo radio telescope. Two cables helping hold a 900-ton instrument platform above the dish have failed this year, one of them at a relatively low tension. This means that the rest of the cables can't be trusted, and can give away at any moment. That, in turn, means it's unsafe to put workers anywhere near the place to repair/replace the cables. So, the National Science Foundation has announced that it's going to have to be decommissioned.

    Articles on it are everywhere; one from a very reliable source:
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03270-9

    It's a loss scientifically - we can do most of what we could do there elsewhere, but not all of it. And it's the loss of something so unique and iconic that it's showed up in everything from movies to video games. But it's also the loss of the most significant scientific facility on Puerto Rico, one that employed many locals, got scientists interacting with the island's universities, and had a visitor's center that got lots of Puerto Rico's kids enthused about astronomy. We'll have to see whether the NSF can find some way to maintain an active research presence at the site.
    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

  • #2
    Since its completion in 1963 up until the completion of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) in southwestern China in 2016 it was the world's largest telescope of its kind as was significantly more sensitive than FAST.

    Of course I'll always remember James Bond fighting on it at the end of Goldeneye

    I'm always still in trouble again

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