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Puerto Rico plans to rebuild Arecibo telescope

Posted on Saturday, 2 January, 2021 | Comment icon 11 comments

The Arecibo Observatory will live again. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 JidoBG
The recently decommissioned observatory could rise from the rubble thanks to a new $8M government pledge.
Situated in Puerto Rico and constructed during the 1960s, the instantly recognizable Arecibo Observatory was characterized by its huge 1,000ft dish built into a natural depression in the hills.

Sadly, though, it now looks very different from its heyday - with its dish cracked and split down the center and its 900-ton receiver platform, which used to be suspended by cables 400ft above it, lying in a crumpled heap on the ground after its remaining supports failed last month.

That said however, it looks as though the future of the Arecibo Observatory may not be quite as grim as it currently appears thanks to a new government pledge to reconstruct it in its entirety.

On December 28th, Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced signed a new executive order stating that it was to become the country's formal policy to see the iconic telescope rebuilt.
"The Government of Puerto Rico states, as a matter of public policy, its conviction to the reconstruction of the Arecibo Radio Telescope and the prompt resumption of world class science and education at the Arecibo Observatory," the order states.

The new version won't be an exact reproduction however, as it will be redesigned to feature a larger effective aperture, a wider field of view and a more powerful radar transmitter.

An initial downpayment of $8 million has been pledged to help get the ball rolling.

Exactly when the new observatory will be completed however currently remains unclear.

Source: | Comments (11)

Tags: Arecibo

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Twin on 2 January, 2021, 17:19
Rebuild is probably cheaper but, I think off world tech. is the future.
Comment icon #3 Posted by toast on 2 January, 2021, 17:31
The 8M are for the cleanup of the site, not for a rebuild, which would be at some 100M:  
Comment icon #4 Posted by jethrofloyd on 2 January, 2021, 17:44
Nice to hear.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Tatetopa on 2 January, 2021, 18:27
Good news in any case.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Old Guy on 3 January, 2021, 3:31
8 million dollar pledge, isn't this the same local government that misused millions in hurricane and earthquake aid from the USA?  No one in need can receive supplies (water, food, generators, tarps,) but we can pledge money to rebuild a telescope, makes no sense. If approved in the future they will make another great blue state.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Tatetopa on 3 January, 2021, 17:34
8 million for clean up comes out of an established maintenance fund I believe. Its going to take  somewhere over 100 million to rebuild it, and that will come from NSF, DOD, foreign and private sources. Here are some reasons I do not think it is foolish. 60,000 people a year visited the site, a couple of hundred people worked there, it is a source of tourism and revenue.. It was the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world.  It has done a lot of extraordinary astronomy over its 50 year lifetime.  In addition, it was used for some DOD projects that were deemed important. It is a ... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by toast on 3 January, 2021, 17:50
Source please.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Rolltide on 8 January, 2021, 22:16
Comment icon #10 Posted by Michelle on 8 January, 2021, 23:01
The local politicians handled all of those supplies so badly I'm surprised more heads haven't rolled.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Ultimatium on 23 January, 2021, 12:04
Well, as someone who is interested in astronomy, this is great news.

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