The 305-metre-wide radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico is permanently closing.
The Arecibo telescope was built in 1963 and was the world’s largest radio telescope for decades.
It is from there that astronomers sent an interstellar radio message in 1974 and where the first known extrasolar planet was discovered in 1992.
The telescope did pioneering work in detecting near-Earth asteroids, observing the puzzling celestial blasts known as fast radio bursts, and studying many other phenomena.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) will decommission Arecibo Observatory’s massive radio dish after damage has made the facility too dangerous to repair.
NSF explains: “We believe the structure will collapse in the near future if left untouched,” John Abruzzo, managing principal of Thornton Tomasetti, wrote. “Controlled demolition, designed with a specific collapse sequence determined and implemented with the use of explosives, will reduce the uncertainty and danger associated with collapse.“
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