It took 17 seconds for Arecibo Observatory’s massive radio telescope to crumble. It will take much longer for the dust to settle.
The iconic structure in Puerto Rico collapsed on Dec. 1 after cable failures in August and November made the telescope too delicate to safely repair. The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), which owns the site, knew that the structure could fall any time and was evaluating how to go about decommissioning the telescope. Now, the agency has shifted to evaluating what to do with its wreckage.
“We’re in the assessment phase,” Ralph Gaume, director of NSF’s Division of Astronomical Sciences, said during a news conference held today (Dec. 3).
He said that the University of Central Florida, which operates the site for the NSF, has hired a clean-up contractor who arrived at the telescope yesterday. “They’re