One of the most powerful telescopes in the world must be dismantled after it sustained irreparable damage and is in danger of collapsing. Back in August, one of the cables supporting the iconic telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico snapped and crashed into the 1,000-foot wide dish.
At the time, officials were hopeful that the damage could be repaired and sent in engineering crews to assess the situation. While they were putting together a plan to fix the telescope, another cable snapped, causing more damage to the reflector dish. As repair crews assessed the new damage, they determined that the structure was unstable and were worried that the other cables could snap at any time. If another cable snapped, it could send a 900-ton instrument suspended 450-feet above the dish crashing down into the dish.
They were also worried that the 300-foot towers supporting the cables could collapse and cause damage to other buildings in the area.
After determining that the structure was unstable, officials evacuated the facility and are working on a plan to safely dismantled the massive telescope.
The telescope has been in operation for 57 years. It has been used by scientists to observe deep-space objects, including the first planet discovered outside of our solar system. It was also featured in the movies GoldenEye and Contact.
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