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Puerto Rico Telescope Featured In James Bond Movie Collapses

News Link: Puerto Rico Telescope Featured In James Bond Movie Collapses – By MK (Editor)

The telescope – which received radio waves from space – had been used by scientists around the world to hunt for possible signatures of extraterrestrial life, study distant planets and find potentially hazardous asteroids.

A massive radio telescope at Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory, one of the world’s largest collapsed on Tuesday.

The deteriorating telescope’s 900-ton instrument platform, suspended by cables 450 feet above a 1,000 feet wide bowl-shaped reflector dish, fell on Tuesday morning, the U.S. National Science Foundation said. No injuries reported, it added.

The telescope – which received radio waves from space – was used by scientists around the world to hunt for possible signatures of extraterrestrial life.

And study distant planets and find potentially hazardous asteroids. It also gained fame after pivotal scenes in the 1995 James Bond film “GoldenEye” starring Pierce Brosnan. The Movie shot there.

Two cables supporting the reflector dish had broken since August, causing damage and forcing officials to close the observatory. Engineering firms retained by the University of Central Florida, which manages the observatory, studied ways to repair the damage.

In November, the engineering reviews led the NSF and the university concluded. The efforts to repair the structure would be too dangerous and that it would have to be demolished.

The NSF said that initial findings indicated that the top section of all three of the telescope’s support towers broke off. That as the instrument platform fell, the telescope’s support cables also plummeted.

The observatory also includes other scientific assets such as a 40feet telescope used for radio astronomy research. Again a facility used to study the Earth’s upper atmosphere and ionosphere. The observatory’s learning center, located next to the telescope, sustained significant damage from falling cables, the NSF said.

The NSF said it will authorize the university to continue paying Arecibo staff to come up with a plan to continue research at the observatory. The agency said it has not determined the cause of the initial cable failure in August.

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