Is the Arecibo SETI Telescope at risk of collapse?
Few people can say that 2020 has been a good year for them. While the Alien-Hunting SETI Telescope is definitely not a human being, disaster has now struck the famous observatory not once, not twice, but three times this year. Simply said, this has been a terrible year for the facility which will likely interfere with their work and progress for many months to come or worse. Before we get to the actual negative events, here is a quick insight into the background of the facility, in case you are unfamiliar.
The Arecibo Observatory was erected in Puerto Rico (Caribbean islands, Latin America) in the 60s of the 20th century and is an astronomical observatory, but not quite in the usual sense of the word – it is a radio telescope. Visible light coming to us from all corners of the Universe is far from a complete stream of information that we can receive from space.
An important part of it falls on the radio wave range of electromagnetic radiation. Radio telescopes are engaged in capturing such space information, which, by and large, are just huge “radio dishes”, smaller copies of which we can see on residential buildings to provide TV air. And it is precisely in the diameter of the “dish”, which is 305 meters, that the Arecibo radio telescope holds the record among radio astronomy observatories in the world.
Observations at the observatory were temporarily suspended, while scientists are processing the data already received. However, nobody expected that a few days later, there will be new problems to worry about.
New information was released yesterday by National Geographic claiming that there is a high risk that the Alien-Hunting SETI Telescope could collapse entirely. The loss of two of the main cables of the facility could potentially lead to a chain reaction that could destroy all remaining cables that are currently under increased pressure.
The following days will be crucial for the future of the Arecibo SETI telescope and we all hope that experts will find a way out before disaster strikes. Based on the observatory director, the chances of a collapse are currently 50%. We can only wait for more news about the facility.
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