One of the world’s most famous and largest radio telescopes at the Puerto Rican Arecibo telescope will be dismantled due to the threat of collapse. According to engineers, the design has become so unstable that repair is not possible.
In August of this year, the telescope was damaged during tropical storm Isaiah. One of the auxiliary holding cables broke off and broke the reflector, forming a 30-meter hole. In early November, the main cable weighing 16 tons fell off the support, damaging the antenna.
According to the director of department astronomical National scientific fund (National Science Foundation) of Ralf Gom, the remained fixing cables can burst at any time.
- Both failed cables supported a huge metal platform above the bowl. If at least one more cable bursts, then the 900-ton platform will fall on the main disk, and then, most likely, three 90-meter telescope towers will collapse, “the scientist explained.
The inability to restore Arecibo was confirmed by several engineering companies. Any attempt to repair can lead to death. The fund is now developing solutions to save several observatory buildings located near the towers.
As Business Insider recalls, for 57 years, the Arecibo telescope has helped detect several potentially dangerous near-Earth asteroids, search for signs of alien life, and also find the first planet outside the solar system. In 1974, the most powerful radio signal from Earth was transmitted from the observatory to communicate with potential alien civilizations. One of the last significant discoveries was mysterious space signals – rapidly repeating radio bursts discovered in 2016, which astrophysicists now believe come from dead stars.
According to the head of one of the laboratories, Arecibo Abel Mendes, with the loss of the radio telescope, the United States is deprived of the opportunity to implement a comprehensive project to search for possible alien radio waves. Now the only telescope suitable for this kind of research is in China.
According to engineers, it will take five to six weeks to develop a project to demolish Arecibo.