The Arecibo Observatory, a giant telescope in Puerto Rico known for its search for meteorites and alien life, had a mysterious accident that caused the telescope’s reflector to shatter into pieces. .
The main receiver dish of the Arecibo Observatory, one of the largest single-dish radio telescopes in the world, was badly damaged when a cable broke on Monday, August 10. School of Central Florida)
According to an announcement from the University of Central Florida, which operates a telescope owned by the US National Science Foundation, on August 10, around 2:45 a.m. local time, a metal cable at The base broke, cutting through the radar disc and creating a 30-meter tear.
The broken cable also pierced several other cables and disc supports, causing debris to fall to the ground below and making it harder for technicians to reach the site.
Francisco Cordova, the observatory’s director, said in the statement: “We have a team of experts assessing the situation. Our focus is on ensuring the safety of our staff, protecting our facilities and equipment, and restore the facility to normal operation as soon as possible so that we can continue to support scientists around the world.”
Arecibo began operations in 1963 after being built from the bottom of a natural sinkhole in Puerto Rico. At the time of its completion, Arecibo was the largest single-disc telescope in the world, measuring 305 meters in diameter.
Arecibo has also played a central role in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) since the 1970s. In 1974, astronomers used radio telescopes to transmit binary codes towards a dense star cluster 25,000 light-years away, in the hope that this message can be picked up by another technologically advanced civilization.
The SETI experiments are still an important part of the observatory’s program, and so is protecting our planet from asteroids. Arecibo’s Planetary Radar Project, part of NASA’s Planetary Defense program, is responsible for detecting and studying near-Earth objects, such as asteroids, that may pose a threat to Earth. our planet.
The above project, along with all other Arecibo projects, was halted due to the accident. Arecibo has recovered from previous damage, including fallout from earthquakes and Hurricane Maria. Hopefully this crash will be no exception.
However, the crash would have disastrous consequences if the aliens eventually send a signal back to our Earth.