It’s a sad day for astronomy.
The iconic Arecibo Observatory collapsed on Tuesday, according to officials. The 900-ton platform suspended above the 1,000-foot-wide dish antenna came crashing down, caused by failing cables that were already stretched to their limits.
As recently as yesterday, NASA had been exploring options to repair the ailing dish.
The instrument platform of the 305m telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico fell overnight. No injuries were reported. NSF is working with stakeholders to assess the situation. Our top priority is maintaining safety. NSF will release more details when they are confirmed. pic.twitter.com/Xjbb9hPUgD
— National Science Foundation (@NSF) December 1, 2020
Luckily, no injuries were reported, according to tweets by the National Science Foundation.
Less than two weeks ago, scientists announced plans to demolish the 57-year-old observatory.
The Arecibo Observatory has been collecting invaluable data, listening in on mysterious radio signals emanating from the far corners of the observable universe.
It has also been used to send out the “Arecibo Message” in the 1970s, a pattern of numbers and chemical formulae, in a symbolic effort to reach out to intelligent extraterrestrial lifeforms that may exist elsewhere in our universe.
Scientists are mourning the news, with some tearing up during interviews.
READ MORE: Huge Puerto Rico radio telescope collapses; many mourning [Associated Press]
More on the observatory: Iconic Arecibo Alien-Hunting Observatory Will Be Demolished