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Sat Jan 2, 2021, 12:51 PM

Puerto Rico Begins Effort to Rebuild Arecibo Observatory's Radio Telescope

JANUARY 2, 2021 6:00 AM

Puerto Rico's government has allocated funds towards the effort



This aerial view shows the damage at the Arecibo Observatory after one of the main cables holding the receiver broke.
RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images

BY TOBIAS CARROLL

Late last year, a structure that had been used for decades to explore outer space came to an abrupt end. This would be the radio telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico — also known for its role in the climax of Goldeneye — which rapidly declined beyond the point of recovery. While the observatory will continue in some form, the radio telescope itself collapsed in early December.

An article in The New York Times from before the collapse spoke to the telescope’s importance to the scientific community, as well as how it’s sparked an interest in science among many in Puerto Rico. “Think about what the Golden Gate Bridge means to San Francisco, Statue of Liberty to New Yorkers,” wrote planetary scientist Ed Rivera-Valentín on Twitter. “Arecibo is this and more to Puerto Rico because it has gone beyond an icon.”

Now, the government of Puerto Rico is taking a first step in rebuilding the fallen structure. Engadget reports that Puerto Rico’s governor, Wanda Vázquez, allocated $8 million towards the rebuilding effort. As writer Jon Fingas notes in the article, building a new radio telescope (or a new facility in general) will cost much more than that. As an opening to a larger fundraising effort, it’s a welcome sign.

In a statement to Engadget, the National Science Foundation said that it “cannot comment on any potential future plans at this time.” The agency did strike an optimistic note, stating that observatory is not closing. “Research involving archived data from the 305-meter telescope will continue and NSF is looking for ways to restore operations with the observatory’s other infrastructure as soon as possible, including the 12-meter telescope and LIDAR facilities,” the agency added.

What will the future of this observatory be? It remains unclear — but this move from Puerto Rico’s government is grounds for optimism.

More:
https://www.insidehook.com/daily_brief/science/arecibo-telescope-puerto-rico-rebuilding-effort

(Short article, no more at link.)

Also posted in Science:
https://www.democraticunderground.com/122873576

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Reply Puerto Rico Begins Effort to Rebuild Arecibo Observatory's Radio Telescope (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jan 2021 OP
Cirque du So-What Jan 2021 #1
RainCaster Jan 2021 #2
abqtommy Jan 2021 #3
msongs Jan 2021 #4
mike_c Jan 2021 #5

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Jan 2, 2021, 01:20 PM

1. I sure hope this antenna gets rebuilt or replaced

I'm tired of the US slipping backward scientifically...among other ways.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Jan 2, 2021, 01:29 PM

2. Jeff Bezos could pay for this with pocket money

All of our space-minded billionaires should do this together.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Jan 2, 2021, 01:32 PM

3. I remember reading about the Arecibo Observatory when I was a lad at school. Our little Weekly

Reader handouts would have interesting stories about things like that and the U.S. submarine
Nautilus circumnavigating the arctic ice pack. I've also enjoyed the movie Golden Eye more than
once and it's good to know that Arecibo was a location setting in it.

I heartily approve of these plans to rebuild Arecibo!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Jan 2, 2021, 04:30 PM

4. meanwhile power is out or spotty and thousands of ppl live under blue tarps w/collapsed

houses. gotta have priorities

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Jan 2, 2021, 11:15 PM

5. I'm sceptical.

There is no doubt that Arecibo was a beast, but radio telescope construction and operation have changed a lot since it came online. At the time, receivers and digitizers were shockingly expensive, which favored large, single receiver instruments. That's not so true anymore, which means telescopes can more affordably leverage wide arrays of smaller antennas. I'll be very surprised if the NSF funds rebuilding Arecibo in its prior form and mission.

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