And at 8am local time on Tuesday morning, the whole structure came down, as a result of what appeared to be a snowball effect of the breaking cables. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Engadget is part of Verizon Media. ... while the construction of the telescope itself cost US$180 million. A still image from a video showing the collapse of the radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Dec. 1, 2020. 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. The 900-ton receiver platform and Gregorian dome – the large structure that sat above the dish – fell down more than 400 feet onto the north part of the telescope below, onlookers said. "I was screaming. To enable Verizon Media and our partners to process your personal data select 'I agree', or select 'Manage settings' for more information and to manage your choices. Another cable broke in November, just as repairs on the original problems were beginning. It's a very deep, terrible feeling. A still image from a video showing the collapse of the radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Dec. 1, 2020. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. The Arecibo Observatory has earned a reputation as the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world. That had led them to announce that it would be closed permanently, causing distress to scientists who have since been lobbying that funding should be made available for it to stay open. Building a new one could cost $350 million and the … A 100-foot gash seen in the dish at the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Nov. 7, 2020. RELATED: Second largest radio telescope in … This donation keeps our doors open and providing you service 24 x 7 x 365. [1] The FAST radio telescope in China cost about $170M. But it has now collapsed, after sustaining damage that had already led its managers to conclude that it could not be fixed and would have to be retired. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. After 57 years of helping to expand human knowledge and understanding of the cosmos, the story of Puerto Rico’s world-famous Arecibo Observatory is coming to an unfortunate end. With a second major cut scheduled for four years later, the closure of the facility seemed imminent. Arecibo construction cost $91.75M in 2013 dollars (adjusted on production worker compensation basis). Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. Arecibo is primarily supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, which awarded the observatory $12.3 million in emergency funds for hurricane-related repairs in 2018. The U.S.’s famed Arecibo Observatory survived all manners of threats since its construction in a bowl-shaped natural sinkhole in the forested hills of Puerto Rico in 1963. The observatory cost $9.3 million when it was completed in 1963. A satellite image taken by one of Planet's SkySat satellites shows the damaged radio dish at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. The telescope's 900-ton receiver platform and the Gregorian dome — a structure as tall as a four-story building that houses secondary reflectors — fell onto the northern portion of the vast reflector dish more than 400 feet below. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. A still image from a video showing the collapse of the radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Dec. 1, 2020. Then, last weekend, wires started snapping on the observatory. In comparison, an average commercial steel frame building costs 75-108 $/m² in materials and 54-86 $/m² in labor. The vast radio telescope in Puerto Rico was until recently the biggest in the world, and has helped look out into space both near and far, watching for objects that come close to the Earth as well as searching for alien life. Arecibo Observatory sits on a 48-hectare (118-acre) site outside of the city of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The Arecibo Observatory was originally built in the 1960s, when it was funded by the Defense Department. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. NSF releases footage from the moment Arecibo’s cables failed Two different cameras, with one capturing a close-up of the cables snapping. As more than 1,000 feet in … RELATED: Second largest radio telescope in … The Arecibo Observatory was originally built in the 1960s, when it was funded by the Defense Department. The world-famous Arecibo Observatory has collapsed after sustaining significant damage. It also became famous for its role in films including Goldeneye, which showed its 1,000-foot-wide dish. We and our partners will store and/or access information on your device through the use of cookies and similar technologies, to display personalised ads and content, for ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development. In the 57 years since its construction, the remote observatory has been a primary world center for radio astronomy. Afterwards, visitors receive a short talk from one of our tour guides and and a chance to visit to the observation deck to view the breathtaking science marvel, where amazing pictures can be taken. “It was a chapter of my life.” The instrument surveyed the characteristics and behaviors of near-Earth asteroids such as … I knew exactly what it was," Jonathan Friedman, who worked at the observatory for 26 years and lives nearby, told the Associated Press. After those accidents, further examination showed that it would be impossible to safely and affordably fix the telescope, its administrators at the US National Science Foundation had already announced. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. "The Arecibo Observatory: Beyond the big dreams", a 20 minute movie in the auditorium about the work done at The Arecibo Observatory. FAST is much larger and more complicated than Arecibo but of course US construction costs are going to be more. ... and preliminary cost estimates run to many millions. Information about your device and internet connection, including your IP address, Browsing and search activity while using Verizon Media websites and apps. Perspective: $500 million is 3.2% of Space Force's annual budget. Arecibo observatory to close #22519411. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Earlier this month, a main cable, connected to the same tower but dating back to the observatory’s construction in the early 1960s, broke, causing additional damage. John Timmer - Dec 3, 2020 6:18 pm UTC There are 140 staff members at the site, and another fifteen at NAIC headquarters on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York. "It sounded like a rumble. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. It features the William E. Gordon telescope as well as a visitor and public outreach center and scientific research community. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. It's ability to do radar astronomy is going to be missed. The observatories problems began in August, when a cable snapped and fell onto the dish, ripping a 100-foot hole in it and damaging the platform. "The instrument platform of the 305m telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico fell overnight. [2] While the Arecibo Telescope is significantly smaller, costs if rebuilt by US contractors would also be much higher than in China. The 1974 upgrade cost another $9 million. No injuries were reported," a post on NSF's official Twitter account on Dec. 1 read. Last Thursday, the National Science Foundation, which funds Arecibo, threw in the towel. Arecibo's Observatory was a top-of-its-class tool for planetary defense. Donate to our annual general fundraising goal. The image was captured at … The flyaway cost for domestic units of the F-35 are about $100M. This works out to an areal cost of $1,250/m². You can change your choices at any time by visiting Your Privacy Controls. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. A still image from a video showing the collapse of the radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Dec. 1, 2020. 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 … A rebuild of Arecibo would probably be worth it if we took impactor mitigation seriously. Friedman said that he had run up a hill overlooking the observatory, after hearing the noise, and saw a cloud of dust where the dish had once stood. 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