The world-famous Arecibo Observatory had completely collapsed back in 2020 after its supporting cables broke.
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 two years ago.
This unfortunate end to such an iconic facility was sadly all-but inevitable after damage sustained during two earthquakes broke two of the cables critical to its structural integrity.
Not all was necessarily lost, however.
Back in 2021, Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced signed a new executive order stating that it was to become Puerto Rico’s formal policy to see the 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,” he wrote.
Now, though, it looks as though the telescope will not be rebuilt after all – mainly due to the cost and because these days there are other radar facilities that can achieve the same thing.
Existing funds dedicated to the project will now go towards building a new eduction center instead.
It’s a sad end to one of the most recognizable telescopes in the world – a facility that once appeared in Hollywood movies and that had become synonymous with the hunt for extraterrestrial life.
You can check out a more in-depth look into the story behind the collapse in the video below.