Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Universe Today (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Work Begins on Cleaning up Arecibo. The job Could Cost $50 Million

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

The collapse of Arecibo’s radio telescope was a devastating blow to the radio astronomy community.  On December 1st, the suspended instrument platform came crashing down, destroying a large part of the receiver dish and the towers supporting the platform, as well as causing minor damage to some outlying buildings.  Now the National Science Foundation (NSF), the government agency responsible for operating Arecibo is starting to pick up the pieces to figure out what’s next for the site, as they detailed in a brief report to Congress recently.

There were several major takeaways from the report.  The most important is that no one was hurt during the collapse.  This is in large part thanks to several engineering assessments after a preliminary cable collapse in November that strongly suggested no one travel near the 305m dish given then imminent chance of collapse. 

Video showing the collapse of the instrument platform at Arecibo.
Credit: NSF

The engineering team had suggested a “controlled decommissioning” – a euphemism for blowing up the telescope’s components in a way that allowed engineers to minimize risk to surrounding facilities.  Unfortunately they were not able to carry out that plan before the platform collapsed of its own volition, proving their theory about it being unstable.  The report found that the damage only occurred in the exclusion area, and since noone had been allowed in that zone, there was no human cost to the collapse. 

A second interesting note in the report dealt with clean up.  Currently, the estimated cost was somewhere between $30-50 million. Work will be spread over the next two years and will focus on debris removal and limiting environmental impact.  Efforts have already started, as evidenced by an image NSF released as part of the report that shows some of the debris cleared from the main dish.

Image of the destroyed 305m telescope with some cleanup started.
Credit: NSF

Details of the next steps were also outlined in the report.  It provided a breakdown of what was damaged and what was operating at the Arecibo facility, which was more than just the famous 305 meter dish.  The site still contains a LIDAR system that is operational but still needs repair from Hurricane Maria that struck the island almost 4 years ago.  Additional operating parts include a pair of 12 m receivers, a passive optics system, and a visitor center, which the NSF plans to continue operating as soon as the site is deemed safe.

NSF, along with its sub-contracted research institution, the University of Central Florida, who is actually responsible for running the site, plan to maintain a presence there, and potentially to leverage the other, largely undamaged infrastructure. Its still unclear what, if any, science might take place at the facility, but the NSF reiterated its commitment to the work that was done at Arecibo and to the community in Puerto Rico surrounding the facility.  With luck, maybe there will some further science done at the site in the not too distant future.

Learn More:
NSF – NSF begins planning for decommissioning of Arecibo Observatory’s 305-meter telescope due to safety concerns
NSF – Report on the Arecibo Observatory
UT – Now you can Watch Actual Video of Arecibo Collapsing…If You Dare
UT – Arecibo’s Damage is so Serious and Dangerous, They’re Just Going to Scrap the Observatory Entirely

Lead Image:
Image of the 305 meter telescope at Arecibo before the final collapse of the instrument platform.
Credit: University of Central Florida

The post Work Begins on Cleaning up Arecibo. The job Could Cost $50 Million appeared first on Universe Today.


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Immusist Beverage Concentrate - Proprietary blend, formulated to reduce inflammation while hydrating and oxygenating the cells.

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.