According to news from IT House on October 2, the Arecibo radio telescope located in Puerto Rico in the United States broke due to aging support structure in 2020, causing the 900-ton signal receiving equipment to fall, and the steel cable destroyed part of the surface of the telescope.
After nearly three years of evaluation, the National Science Foundation of the United States recently announced that it will abandon the function of rebuilding its observatory and turn it into a science education center based on life science and computer science.
The new education center, called Arecibo Center for Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Science Education, Computational Skills, and Community Engagement, or Arecibo C3, is expected to open in 2024, and the National Science Foundation expects to invest a total of $5.5 million in expansion over the next five years.
Founded in 1963, the telescope has always been an important educational and scientific research center in Puerto Rico and a symbol of the region. The Arecibo radio telescope has created many scientific research achievements, discovered the rotation cycle of Mercury, the first pulsar, and proved the existence of a neutron star. At the same time, the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics was won by the observation of this telescope.
As an "antique" with a history of nearly 60 years, the operation of the Arecibo Telescope Observatory is becoming more and more difficult with increasing maintenance costs. After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico hard in 2017 and slightly damaged the main reflector of Arecibo, the cable used by the observatory to hang the receiver above the main reflector accidentally broke at the end of 2020 and destroyed almost 1x3 of the reflector.
Puerto Rico had previously proposed a restoration in 2021, taking into account the fame of the Arecibo Observatory, but is now certain to become a science education centre.
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