Another cable crashed into the reflective disc at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, causing another setback for this beloved facility.
Arecibo Observatory main support cable crashed and fell to the disk below at 7:30 pm Puerto Rico time on Friday November 6, report UCF Today. The extent of the damage is still unknown, but the disc was further damaged, as well as some nearby cables. No one was injured, but a safe area has been set up around the facility as a precaution. With two support cables unsuccessful in three months, it is imperative that the response teams find a way to stabilize the structure.
Firstly incident It happened on August 10, when a 3-inch thick sub-cable fell onto the observatory’s main reflector disc, creating a 10-foot-long crack. The cause of the problem is still unknown, but the auxiliary cable appears to have fallen out of the outlet. According to observatory officials, this was not the case with the main cable, it was just broken, possibly due to the added weight to the remaining cables. Like UCF Reports today, officials are aware of the broken wires on the main cable and engineers are scheduled for an emergency repair this week.
Like the faulty auxiliary cable, the main cable is connected to the main support tower. The incident from last August also resulted in damage Gregorian Dome and the platform used to access the dome. The Arecibo facility is administered by the University of Central Florida on behalf of the US National Science Foundation, under a partnership agreement with Universidad Ana G. Méndez and Yang Enterprises.
This is what observatory director Francisco Cordova told UCF Today in response to this latest incident:
“This is definitely not what we want to see, but it’s important that no one gets hurt. Safety assessment and prioritization has been carefully considered in the planning of the repairs scheduled to begin on Tuesday. Now this. There are many uncertainties until we can stabilize the structure. It has our full attention. We are assessing the situation with our experts and hope to have more to share soon.
The response team will try to reduce the stress in existing cables by installing steel reinforcement wires – something they want to do as soon as possible. The team also hopes to expedite the purchase of two new support cables currently on order. These plans may evolve over the next few days as the situation is further assessed.
Progress at Arecibo has been slow since the August incident, as officials struggle to pinpoint the exact cause of the sub-cable breakdown. For example, the faulty socket has been sent to NASA for forensic analysis. Arecibo officials had previously asked the National Science Foundation for the necessary funding for temporary repairs, but the expected cost of the repairs was still unknown. The observatory, built in the 1960s, has a long history Financial uncertainty, in addition to tolerating magnetic damage stormy and earthquake.
We’ve reached out to Arecibo to learn more about recent damage and other details, and we’ll update this post if we get a response.
This is very sad, as Arecibo hosts some very valuable scientific work. In addition to contributing to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), the dish is also used for radio astronomy and atmospheric and planetary science. More importantly, the observatory is also tracking dangerous objects near Earth.