Drone films spectacular collapse of the Arecibo Telescope

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Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On 1 December, the Arecibo Telescope, located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico suddenly collapsed. Following two cable breaks supporting the receiver platform in the months before, owner U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) decided to decommission the second largest telescope in the world for safety concerns. Before controlled demolition could be conducted, the remaining cables failed, causing catastrophic structural failure to the telescope. 

The video shared by NSF is twofold: one camera is filming from the control room, that is overlooking the entire site. The second part is a drone monitoring the cables supporting the receiver platform. Suddenly the remaining cables fail, causing the 900 tons platform to collapse and drag everything with it.

Since its completion in November 1963, the Telescope had been used for radar astronomy and radio astronomy, and had been part of the Search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) program. It was also used by NASA for Near-Earth object detection.

Since around 2006, NSF funding support for the telescope had waned as the Foundation directed funds to newer instruments, though academics petitioned to the NSF and Congress to continue support for the telescope.

Numerous hurricanes, including Hurricane Maria, had damaged parts of the telescope, straining the reduced budget. (Source wikipedia: Arecibo Observatory)

The Arecibo Telescope was used in GoldenEye, a James Bond movie.

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