Much to the profound dismay of astronomers and space enthusiasts around the world, the famed alien-hunting Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico has been decommissioned due to damage sustained at the site over the last few months. The unfortunate announcement was made today by the National Science Foundation (NSF) which oversees the 57-year-old observatory. The decision, they explained, follows "a review of engineering assessments that found damage to the Arecibo Observatory cannot be stabilized without risk to construction workers and staff at the facility."
The apparent fatal blow to the telescope was the snapping of a support cable earlier this month which followed a similar incident back in August. With those two critical pieces of infrastructure removed, the NSF said, "the telescope structure is in danger of a catastrophic failure and its cables may no longer be capable of carrying the loads they were designed to support." And, alas, attempts to enlist construction workers to fix the damage would expose them to "potentially life-threatening danger."
More on this story at the Coast to Coast AM website.