The Arrecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, the world’s most historic astronomy facility, collapsed due to structural problems.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States said on Twitter on the 1st that “Last night, the telescope at the Arrecibo Observatory collapsed.”
In mid-November, NSF announced that the Arrecibo radio telescope, which had already failed twice, was seriously damaged enough to threaten the safety of engineers, and it is scheduled to begin dismantling. NSF said it needed a plan to safely demolish the telescope. At the time, 36,000 scientists from around the world opposed the demolition plan and filed a petition for “preserving the Arrecibo Observatory, which played a pivotal role in the global astronomy world.”
However, on the night of the 1st, the telescope eventually collapsed on its own as the last support fell. NSF said, “As all the support tower connecting rods connected to the radio telescope plate were damaged, the equipment of about 900 tons that was suspended fell on the plate and collapsed.” Fortunately, it was reported that no injuries were caused by the collapse.
The radio telescope with a huge dish antenna with a diameter of 305 m installed at the Arrecibo Observatory has been the world’s largest radio telescope for 53 years since its creation in 1963. In 2016, when China created the 500m-diameter radio telescope “Guan Tian Jyuen,” the Arrecibo telescope withdrew from the world’s largest telescope title, but has played a pivotal role in scientific discoveries such as the identification of gravitational waves according to Einstein’s theory of relativity.
In 1974, astrophysicists used the Arrecibo radio telescope to send the “Arrecibo Radio Message,” a pictograph containing information on human existence and DNA structure, to intelligent life in the universe. At the same time, physicists have been working on a project to find extraterrestrial life by analyzing the space radio signals collected by the Arrecibo radio telescope.
Thomas Jerberchin, NASA’s aerospace officer, expressed his regret on his Twitter, saying, “It’s the saddest day for astronomy and planetary science around the world.”
YTN PLUS Reporter Jeong Yoon-joo
[저작권자(c) YTN & YTN plus 무단전재 및 재배포 금지]