US to shut down famed huge Arecibo space telescope in Puerto Rico jungle

A huge US space telescope nestled deep in the Puerto Rican jungle will be shut down after suffering two destructive mishaps in recent months, ending 57 years of astronomical discoveries.

Operations at the Arecibo observatory, one of the largest in the world, were halted in August when one of its supportive cables slipped loose from its socket, falling and gashing a 30-metre (100ft) hole in its 305m-wide (1,000ft) reflector dish.

Another cable then broke earlier this month, tearing a new hole in the dish and damaging nearby cables as engineers scrambled to devise a plan to preserve the crippled structure.

The accidents at the site – also famed as the setting for James Bond movie GoldenEye, as well as Contact starring Jodie Foster – prompted the US National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent government agency, to call time on the facility.

SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/nov/20/us-to-shut-down-famed-huge-arecibo-space-telescope-in-puerto-rico-jungle

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