Massive Puerto Rico telescope collapses

    Massive Puerto Rico telescope collapses

    The huge telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico that had deteriorated since August collapsed today, officials said, after 57 years of astronomical discoveries.

    The 900-ton radio telescope instrument platform, suspended by 450-foot (137-meter) cables over a 1,000-foot-wide (305-meter) reflector plate, fell on Tuesday morning, the US National Science Foundation said. No injuries were reported, he added.

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    The telescope, one of the largest in the world, has been used by scientists around the world for decades to study distant planets, find potentially dangerous asteroids and hunt for possible extraterrestrial signatures.

    Two cables supporting the reflector had been broken since August, causing damage and forcing officials to close the observatory. The NSF, which helped manage the telescope, said in November that efforts to repair the structure would be very dangerous and would therefore have to be demolished.

    “NSF is saddened by this development,” the independent federal agency wrote on Twitter. “As we move forward, we will look for ways to help the scientific community and maintain a close relationship with the people of Puerto Rico.”

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