The Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico will be dismantled after 57 years of activity. The move was taken due to a broken cable, the US National Science Foundation announced on Thursday, quoted by AFP.
Two cables supporting the 900-ton instruments broke on August 10 and November 6.
Engineers are concerned that other cables may break at any time, and any attempt to repair them is dangerous.
The Foundation “gives priority to the safety of workers, Arecibo Observatory staff and visitors, which makes this decision necessary, albeit unfortunate. For almost six decades, the Arecibo Observatory has served as a beacon for revolutionary science, “said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan.
“More than a telescope, Arecibo is why I’m in astronomy,” local astronomer Kevin Ortiz Ceballos wrote on Twitter.
An action scene from the James Bond movie “GoldenEye” takes place above the telescope, and in the movie “Contact” an astronomer played by Jodie Foster uses the observatory to look for extraterrestrial signals.
The company that technically checked the telescope recommended its demolition, the remaining cables being weak and present risks.
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