"When engineers advised NSF that the structure was unstable and presented a danger to work teams and Arecibo staff, we took their warnings seriously.". More than 1,000 earthquakes have shaken Puerto Rico since the beginning of the year. It would be a shame to let this one slip away forever. In a press conference, reps for the NSF were very careful to say that they intend to work with the Puerto Rico and scientific communities, and Congress, to continue the observatory itself even as the 305-meter is shut down. Using synthetic aperture radar data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites operated by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech in … It's also not clear how the decommissioning will be done just yet. They were very old, and moisture seeping in over the years may have contributed to the problem. This satellite image provided by 2020 Maxar Technologies shows the damaged radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2020. The collapse at 7:56 a.m. on Tuesday wasn't a surprise because many of the wires in the thick cables holding the structure snapped over the weekend, Ángel Vázquez, the telescope's director of operations, told The Associated Press. UPDATE (1 December 2020): The platform over the dish fell this morning in an uncontrolled collapse. By submitting your information, you agree to our, UPDATED: The giant Arecibo radio telescope to be decommissioned due to damage. The telescope was built in the 1960s with money from the Defense Department amid a push to develop anti-ballistic missile defenses. No one knows if the other cables are damaged or not, or if they can carry the designed load for much longer. Your opinions are important to us. PlanetLabs SkySat satellite image of the Arecibo radio telescope taken on 10 August 2020. When it fell it damaged the dish, tearing a 30-meter gash in it, and also damaged several of the panels making up the Gregorian dome. I'm awaiting more news and will update ths post as it comes in. A dozen auxiliary cables were installed to support the extra weight, attached to the three towers along with the main cables. Broken cable damages giant radio telescope in Puerto Rico, Elephants found to have the highest volume of daily water loss ever recorded in a land animal, Sediment cores from Dogger Littoral suggest Dogger Island survived ancient tsunami, Study of river otters near oilsands operations shows reduced baculum strength, A possible way to measure ancient rate of cosmic ray strikes using 'paleo-detectors', Thermonuclear type-I X-ray bursts detected from MAXI J1807+132. This is a much more serious problem. Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies via AP The second-largest radio telescope in the world had been operating for more than half a century. By DÁNICA COTO, Associated Press. Credit: PlanetLabs. Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies via AP This aerial view shows the damage at the Arecibo Observatory after one of the main cables holding the reciever broke in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, on December 1, 2020. Can iron form via processes like the r- or s-process? But it's no small task. "It sounded like a rumble. He last used the telescope on Aug. 6, just days before a socket holding the auxiliary cable that snapped failed in what experts believe could be a manufacturing error. The telescope was featured in many movies and TV shows, including the James Bond movie Goldeneye, the brilliant science fiction film Contact, and the Doctor Who episode "The Ambassadors of Death." Credit: Arecibo/GBO/NSF/NASA/JPL-Caltech. On 10 August 2020, one of the auxiliary cables slipped from its post and fell to the ground. New satellite image reveals the damage that shut down the facility, ending an era in astronomical observation. The venerable Arecibo radio telescope, a mammoth 305-meter dish nestled in the forested hills of Puerto Rico, is to be decommissioned after a pair of cables that support a huge platform above the dish broke. The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, the largest single-dish radio telescope in the world, was damaged Monday when an auxiliary cable that supports the suspended platform broke… NASA used satellite data to create this “damage proxy map” of locations in the San Juan, Puerto Rico, area that are likely damaged as a result of Hurricane Maria (red and yellow pixels). We have so many ways to do so, so many different and critical senses we employ to understand our environment, both local and very, very distant. © 2020 The Associated Press. As of 2018, the observatory is operated by University of Central Florida, Yang Enterprises and UMET, under cooperative agreement with the US National Science Foundation (NSF). The telescope consists of two main structures. About 250 scientists worldwide had been using the observatory when it closed in August, including Méndez, who was studying stars to detect habitable planets. By September plans were in place to replace the broken aux cable, but then on 6 November one of the main cables supporting the platform broke, catching everyone off guard. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission. Scientists had used the telescope to study pulsars to detect gravitational waves as well as search for neutral hydrogen, which can reveal how certain cosmic structures are formed. Friedman ran up a small hill near his home and confirmed his suspicions: A cloud of dust hung in the air where the structure once stood, demolishing hopes held by some scientists that the telescope could somehow be repaired. The desire to study the planet we live on and the Universe around us is one of the noblest aspects of humanity. According to news reports, Irma's damage had already left roughly two-thirds of the population without electricity and roughly one-third of the population without clean water. "I was screaming. Medical Xpress covers all medical research advances and health news, Tech Xplore covers the latest engineering, electronics and technology advances, Science X Network offers the most comprehensive sci-tech news coverage on the web. Radar observations of the binary asteroid 2017 YE5 show the two components in motion. This satellite image provided by 2020 Maxar Technologies shows the damaged radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2020. The National Science Foundation, which owns the observatory that is managed by the University of Central Florida, said crews who evaluated the structure after the first incident determined that the remaining cables could handle the additional weight. An inspection before the main cable snapped showed that 12 of those wires had broken in it, but this was not considered an immediate threat; enough of the other wires were intact that the engineers concluded that there was enough redundancy in the wires that this did not pose an immediate emergency. After consideration and an investigation by an engineering team, the NSF concluded that there is no way to fix these problems while still maintaining the safety of any crew who would do the work. It's supported by steel cables that are strung across a natural concavity in the island's topography (a sinkhole that left behind a large depression). A huge, already damaged radio telescope in Puerto Rico that has played a key role in astronomical discoveries for more than half a century completely … "It's a huge loss," said Carmen Pantoja, an astronomer and professor at the University of Puerto Rico who used the telescope for her doctorate. Credit: UCF. I am not a radio astronomer but many of my friends are and have used Arecibo in the past. Credit: NASA. That one, the biggest quake to hit Puerto Rico in a century, killed at least one person, damaged nearly 600 buildings and caused at least $110 million in damage, Reuters reported. The telescope was featured in many movies and TV shows, including the James Bond movie Goldeneye, the brilliant science fiction film Contact, and the Doctor Who episode "The Ambassadors of Death. The platform is truly enormous and heavy, and it will take great care to disassemble it properly and safely. Hurricane Maria was a deadly Category 5 hurricane that devastated Dominica, St Croix, and Puerto Rico in September 2017. Meanwhile, installing a new telescope would cost up to $350 million, money the NSF doesn't have, Vázquez said, adding it would have to come from U.S. Congress. Scientists worldwide had been petitioning U.S. officials and others to reverse the NSF's decision to close the observatory. However, the alternative is to do nothing, and that will almost certainly lead to an uncontrolled collapse of the platform, which would be catastrophic. The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has been damaged by a broken cable. Satellite images show an area west of the city of Ponce shifted downwards and … The content is provided for information purposes only. Strain on a metal plate caused it to buckle, sending a cascade of failures through the structure of the then-decades-old 'scope. It had endured hurricanes, tropical humidity and a recent string of earthquakes in its 57 years of operation. Credit: NSF. The damage can be seen to the left of center of the dish. In 1997 the facility was updated with a new structure on the platform called the Gregorian dome, which allowed the installation of several new receivers. This document is subject to copyright. Like Comic-Con. You can be assured our editors closely monitor every feedback sent and will take appropriate actions. The observatory is the sole facility of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (NAIC), which is the formal name of the observatory. The collapse stunned many scientists who had relied on what was until recently the largest radio telescope in the world. "The world without the observatory loses, but Puerto Rico loses even more.". Parts fell and damaged the dish and several buildings as well. What is the rate of ejecta deposited between planets? In personal terms, well, I'm bummed. I knew exactly what it was," said Jonathan Friedman, who worked for 26 years as a senior research associate at the observatory and still lives near it. A photo of the 900-ton Arecibo receiver platform at night, showing two of the massive towers and cables used to support the platform. or. “We understand how much Arecibo means to this community and to Puerto Rico.” An auxiliary cable broke in August and tore a 100-foot hole in … The tops of all three suspension towers were torn off. Click here to sign in with NASA’s Disasters Program has delivered to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) a map of areas in eastern Puerto … An auxiliary cable snapped in August, causing a 100-foot gash on the 1,000-foot-wide (305-meter-wide) dish and damaged the receiver platform that hung above it. The NSF said at the time that it intended to eventually reopen the visitor center and restore operations at the observatory's remaining assets, including its two LIDAR facilities used for upper atmospheric and ionospheric research, including analyzing cloud cover and precipitation data. An image of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico taken by a SkySat satellite Aug. 10 shows the hole in the telescope's dish caused by a cable that broke earlier that day. Then a main cable broke in early November. Huge Puerto Rico radio telescope, already damaged, collapses December 1, 2020 by irfanguru Leave a Comment This satellite image provided by 2020 Maxar Technologies shows the damaged radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2020. Arecibo provides a lot of economic support for the citizens of the island, as well as STEM support for both teachers and students. Also, Puerto Rico has been battered by hurricanes which strain the structure, and a series of earthquakes near the observatory struck late in 2019 as well. The Arecibo Observatory had been shuttered since August after an auxiliary cable snapped and caused a … Except every week in your inbox. The main cables are also about 8 cm thick, weigh 7 tons, and are composed of 160 steel wires braided together. Question about things moving through outer space. See the latest Puerto Rico enhanced weather satellite map, including areas of cloud cover. It's not clear what might have damaged the cables. This also raises concerns that the remaining 11 cables may be worn more than previously thought. "We are saddened by this situation but thankful that no one was hurt," NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said in a statement. Stabilizing or replacing the cable may also accelerate the collapse. This satellite image provided by 2020 Maxar Technologies shows the damaged radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico on Nov. 17, 2020. The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, in a satellite … Engineers cannot … ARECIBO, Puerto Rico —A huge, already damaged radio telescope in Puerto Rico that has played a key role in astronomical discoveries for more than half a century completely collapsed on Tuesday. It was too much for the old girl to take.". Each tower has four main cables attached to support the platform, so there are 12 in all. It also served as a training ground for graduate students and drew about 90,000 visitors a year. It reflects radio waves from space up into a platform suspended above it that has various radio receivers in it to do different kinds of science. Days after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked Puerto Rico, followed by hundreds of aftershocks, the full extent of damage is only beginning to be realized. and Terms of Use. I sincerely hope that a new facility, upgraded and with modern considerations, will rise in its place. The aux cables are made of steel and over 8 centimeters thick, and are very heavy. (CNN) The famous observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, featured in the … It's a very deep, terrible feeling.". Replacing it will be a big project. This satellite image provided by 2020 Maxar Technologies shows the damaged radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2020. Science X Daily and the Weekly Email Newsletter are free features that allow you to receive your favorite sci-tech news updates in your email inbox. "It was a chapter of my life.". 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He said that it was extremely difficult to say whether anything could have been done to prevent the damage that occurred after the first cable snapped in August. "It was a snowball effect," he said. No one was hurt, but this incident provoked NSF to inspect the telescope to see what could be done to repair it. Until China built its 500-meter dish in 2016, Arecibo was the largest filled-dish single radio telescope on the planet. The ineractive map makes it easy to navitgate around the globe. Update your browser for more security and the best experience on this site. We do not guarantee individual replies due to extremely high volume of correspondence. Thank you for taking your time to send in your valued opinion to Science X editors. "The maintenance was kept up as best as we could," he said. Apparently the problems in the cable were deeper than suspected. The triangular platform weighs 900 tons and is hung 150 meters above the dish using massive cables strung from three huge towers (one is about 110 meters high, the other two about 80 meters). This satellite image provided by 2020 Maxar Technologies shows the damaged radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico on Nov. 17, 2020. Astronomers and residents of Puerto Rico mourned as an eye on the cosmos shuttered unexpectedly overnight. From the photos, it looks like cables from one tower snapped, and the 900-ton platform suspended 150 meters above the giant dish swung over and smashed against a rock cliff. On 10 August 2020 an auxiliary cable broke, damaging some Arecibo radio dish panels. The telescope has been used to track asteroids on a path to Earth, conduct research that led to a Nobel Prize and determine if a planet is potentially habitable. This satellite image provided by 2020 Maxar Technologies shows the damaged radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2020. You can unsubscribe at any time and we'll never share your details to third parties. Your feedback will go directly to Science X editors. In this case, though, the cable itself snapped. The damage is extensive, and I don't know if this can be salvaged. In the satellite imagery you can see small green spots dotting the gray dish. A huge, already damaged radio telescope in Puerto Rico that has played a key role in astronomical discoveries for more than half a century completely collapsed on Tuesday. Comics Wire: Marvel's next X-Men era, and King in Black. Plus Kickstarters to watch, and hot reads! The information you enter will appear in your e-mail message and is not retained by Phys.org in any form. Also, there is wildlife (including endangered species) that thrive under the dish, and those need to be considered as well. The NSF plans on decommissioning it soon. The enormous telescope has been in use since it was completed in 1963, operated by several organizations in cooperation with the US National Science Foundation (NSF). Get weekly and/or daily updates delivered to your inbox. Losing this facility is just awful. The Arecibo Observatory is a radio telescope in the municipality of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The Mandalorian might be set before the ending of Rebels, Ryan Reynolds has Satan meet the 2020 love of his life in hilarious Match dating ad, From acclaimed horror comic to Netflix anime, 'Trese' is the little Filipino comic that could.
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