The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced its decision to decomission Arecibo Observatory’s 305-meter telescope, which served as as a world-class resource for radio astronomy, planetary, solar system and geospace research for 57 years.
The NSF made its decision after reviewing multiple engineering assessments that concluded that repairing the damage to the Arecibo Observatory poses risk to contruction workers and staff at the facility.
Based on its evaluation of the engineering assessments, the Arecibo telescope structure is in danger of a catastrophic failure and its cables may no longer be capable of carrying the loads they were designed to support.” Any attempts to repair the structure could endanger the lives of workers.
Over the years the Arecibo Observatory has been hit by hurricanes and earthquakes.
In August, one of the cables supporting the Arecibo telescope was detached. Since then engineers have been examining the situation.
The giant single-dish is suspended by six 8 centimeter-wide auxiliary steel cables which were added, as a 1990 upgrade.