PUERTO RICO (ABC4 News) – The iconic Arecibo radio telescope featured in the James Bond Film ‘Goldeneye’ has collapsed.
900 tons of it fell into the dish below.
The National Science Foundation has released footage of the final moments. Two camera angles are shown, one where you see the fall and one by a drone that shows the moments the cables snapped.
The fall happened at 7:55 Atlantic time on Dec. 1.
No injuries were reported. Officials knew the cable had failed since Nov 6. The local authorities are keeping people away until the damage to the rest of the structures is assessed.
“We are saddened by this situation but thankful that no one was hurt,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “When engineers advised NSF that the structure was unstable and presented a danger to work teams and Arecibo staff, we took their warnings seriously and continued to emphasize the importance of safety for everyone involved. Our focus is now on assessing the damage, finding ways to restore operations at other parts of the observatory, and working to continue supporting the scientific community, and the people of Puerto Rico.”
“We knew this was a possibility, but it is still heartbreaking to see,” says Elizabeth Klonoff, UCF’s vice president for research. “Safety of personnel is our number one priority. We already have engineers on-site to help assess the damage and determine the stability and safety of the remaining structure. We will continue to work with the NSF and other stakeholders to find ways to support the science mission at Arecibo.”
The structure had stages of failure, a cable failed in August, but the other 3 were expected to keep the structure up. Then a second cable failed on Nov 6.
The telescope is now planned for decommissioning.