The USA has planned to decommission the world’s largest astronomical observatory telescope Arecibo in Puerto Rico. This is reported on the website of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) on November 19.
It is specified that the 305-m telescope will be dismantled due to the threat of destruction, its cables are no longer able to withstand the load to support it.
“After reviewing engineering estimates that damage to the Arecibo Observatory could not be stabilized without risk to the telescope’s builders and staff, the NSF is beginning decommissioning the 305-meter telescope, which has served as a world-class source of solar system research for 57 years,” the report says.
An auxiliary cable broke off and damaged the reflector mirror of the telescope, leaving a 30-meter gap in August. The observations were stopped.
Then in November the main cable broke, causing new damage to the telescope.
According to Ralph Gaum, director of the Astronomical Science Department at NSF, the observatory staff did a great job of saving “this incredible tool”, but the inspections showed that it was not advisable to repair the telescope.
The staff will also work to preserve as much of the remaining infrastructure at the Arecibo Observatory as possible so that it remains accessible for future research and educational missions, the Foundation said.
Earlier, on October 26, NASA confirmed the discovery of water on the illuminated side of the moon. The discovery was made with the help of the Infrared Astronomy Observatory, which is based on an aircraft of Boeing. It is assumed that water can be distributed on the lunar surface and not limited to shaded areas.