Arecibo’s second cable failed, causing further damage to the popular SETI dish

Dish damage as a result of August cable failure.

Dish damage as a result of August cable failure.
picture: UCF today

Another cable fell on a reflector plate at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, in another frustrating setback to this beloved facility.

The main support cable of the Arecibo Observatory failed and fell on the plate below at 7:30 PM PDT on Friday November 6, Reports UCF Today. The extent of the damage is not yet known, but the plate has suffered further damage, as have some adjacent cables. No one was injured, but a safety zone has been created around the facility as a precaution. With a support cable failure within three months, it is imperative that response teams now find a way to stabilize the structure.

File image showing the observatory as it appeared in Spring 2019.

File image showing the observatory as it appeared in Spring 2019.
Photo: UCF today

the first accident It happened on August 10, when an additional 3-inch-thick cable fell onto the observatory’s main reflective plate, inflicting a 10-foot wound. The cause of the failure has not yet been determined, but it appears that the extra cable has slipped out of its socket. This does not appear to be the case for the main cable, which was simply cut off, possibly as a result of the extra weight imposed on the remaining cables, according to observatory officials. In the name of UCF Today’s reports, officials were aware of broken wires in the main cable, and engineers are due to carry out emergency repairs this week.

Like a failed auxiliary cable, the main cable connects to the main support tower. The accident that occurred last August also resulted in damage to Gregorian dome The platform used to access the dome. The facility at Arecibo is managed by the University of Central Florida on behalf of the US National Science Foundation, under a cooperation agreement with Universidad Ana G. Méndez and Yang Enterprises.

This is what the director of the observatory, Francisco Cordova, told UCF Today in response to this latest incident:

“This is definitely not what we wanted to see, but the important thing is that no one was hurt. We have been thoughtful in our assessment and have prioritized safety in planning the repairs that were supposed to start on Tuesday. Now this. There is a lot of uncertainty until we can fix The structure. Is receiving our full attention. We are assessing the situation with our experts and hope to share more soon. “

The response team will try to reduce stress in the existing cables by installing steel reinforcements – something they want to do as quickly as possible. The team also hopes to expedite the purchase of two new support cables that are currently in order. These plans could develop over the next few days as the situation is further assessed.

It was Arecibo’s progress slow Since the August incident, officials have struggled to determine the cause of the additional cables failing. The failed socket, for example, was sent to NASA for forensic analysis. Arecibo officials had previously requested the National Science Foundation funds for temporary repairs, but the expected cost of the repairs is not yet known. The observatory, which was built in the 1960s, has a long history Financial uncertainty, In addition to bearing damage from Tornadoes And the Earthquakes.

We’ve reached out to Arecibo to find out more about the latest damage and other details, and we’ll update this post if we hear again.

This is all very sad, as Arecibo hosts some very valuable science work. In addition to contributing to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), the dish is used in radio astronomy, atmospheric and planetary sciences. Importantly, the observatory is also looking for potential dangerous objects near Earth.

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