(Sorry for the double-whammy of sad news, it’s just one of those days)
The observatory had been shut down since August from a cable snap that had punched a huge hole in the dish. But yesterday, the structure collapsed catastrophically.
Amigos es con profundo pesar comunicarles que acaba de colapsar la plataforma del Observatorio de Arecibo. pic.twitter.com/stJScy2Old
— Deborah Martorell (@DeborahTiempo) December 1, 2020
Can we just be done with 2020 at this point? Maybe fast-forward to late December?
The NSF released some video of the actual collapse. One is from the ground from the main control room. The other is from a drone that was doing an inspection on one of the towers and caught some of the cables snapping. To me, the video from the drone looks to be something that engineers can pore over to see what a failure of a support cable looks like. Hopefully even in it’s destruction something can be learned from it.
https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/arecibo/ (12/03/20 update)
I love that in science, the collapse is just ‘new data’ to pour over.
That said, the fact that it’s collapsed makes me want to weep. We need more science, not the science we have atrophying!
The one plus about the collapse is that the dish could not be repaired while the assembly hung perilously over it. Sad as it is, fixing the telescope always required the full replacement of the overhead assembly. I’m hoping that now they will consider clearing the site and looking seriously at rebuilding.