Improving Wetware

Because technology is never the issue

Arecibo Observatory is no more

Posted by Pete McBreen 20 Nov 2020 at 04:43

Sad news about our ability to maintain things, the renowned Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has been deemed unrepairable.

The telescope was built in the 1960s with money from the Defense Department amid a push to develop anti-ballistic missile defenses. In its 57 years of operation, it endured hurricanes, endless humidity and a recent string of strong earthquakes.

One of the auxiliary cables snapped and tore a hole in the reflector dish, and more recently one of the supporting cables failed. Although the claim was made that the maintenance procedures had been followed, I have to take it as another example of infrastructure that is slowly crumbling.