The Arecibo Observatory radio telescope located in the municipality of Arecibo, Puerto Rico has taken a considerable amount of damage after a support cable snapped on Monday, 10 August.
The incident was reported by the University of Central Florida, which states that an auxiliary cable supporting the telescope’s metal frame snapped in the early hours of the morning, resulting in the cable falling onto the dish and leaving a huge hole in the telescope. The full extent of the damage is yet to be released, but officials have stated that around six to eight panels were broken. The platform itself has also been bent.
“We have a team of experts assessing the situation. Our focus is assuring the safety of our staff, protecting the facilities and equipment, and restoring the facility to full operations as soon as possible, so it can continue to assist scientists around the world.” Said Francisco Cordova, Director of the Arecibo Observatory in a statement.
One possible cause of the cable snapping could be tied back to damage caused to the satellite by Hurricane Maria in 2017, as it was still being repaired at the time of the cable’s breakage, according to Slash Gear. The cost of repairing the satellite, along with how long the process will take is still unclear.
The Arecibo Observatory has survived earthquakes, Hurricane Maria and dozens of tropical storms over the last 50 years. It will overcome this, too (I hope). If you’re visiting #PuertoRico put it on your must-see list. Get well soon, dish!https://t.co/ja6BNOl416
— Jim Wyss (@jimwyss) August 11, 2020
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