17 thoughts on “Arecibo”

  1. What’s the cost of a total refurb? A billion? One of the tech oligarchs could dig that up out of petty cash. Hell, Bloomberg spent that just on his ego fantasies.

  2. The original cost of the observatory (the telescope plus all facilities) was 9.3 million in 1963 dollars.

    At most, they need a whole new telescope, as the facilities are fine.
    However, let’s use the total original cost of 9.3 million in 1963. What’s that in today’s dollars? 79 million.

    So, what’s the real situation here? They have no hope of raising 79 million? Or, is it something far more serious; has our society become so worthless and weak, beset by self-imposed structures and damage, that it can no longer even hope to emulate things it did with ease 50 years ago? Have we fallen so far as that?

    1. I might be completely ignorant, but I understand that similar work is being done by large array radio telescopes like in Arizona. I wonder if some of it is just cost to fix it is so high and the multi antenna arrays are just better?

    2. I’m sure that a brand new, ground-up telescope up to current standards would cost more than $79…

      But NSF has clearly been trying to shed Arecibo as an expense for some years now. Well: Now they’ve found a way.

      Maybe NASA could be approached, if no fairy godfather billionaires rise to the occasion.

    3. I’m pretty sure it’d cost a LOT more today, because inflation ain’t the only factor.

      But I’m also not at all sure it’s needful, since it was originally a cold-war support project AND we have newer radiotelescope tech over the past 57 years.

      And it’s not especially clear that planetary radar is super important.

  3. They really should replace it with a modern version. The site is perfect for a telescope of this type. And let’s face it, we aren’t putting one on the moon anytime soon. You could probably replace the antenna for $200m or so.

    If they take it apart carefully, a lot of the structures might be salvaged as well.

    1. The dish itself needed to be replaced…They’re saying that it is too dangerous now to attempt to remove any of the suspended platform.

      Well, OK. Use some demo to cut all the support cables, simultaneously, let the platform take out most of the dish panels… Once there is not anything else that will be falling down, clean up the trash, and figure out what to put in it’s place.

  4. From Space.com:

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) will decommission Arecibo Observatory’s massive radio dish after damage has made the facility too dangerous to repair, the agency announced today (Nov. 19).

    The announcement came as scientists awaited a verdict about the fate of the iconic observatory after damage to the complex cabling supporting a 900-ton science platform suspended over the dish. In August, a cable slipped out of its socket, but engineers evaluating the situation deemed it stable; earlier this month, a second cable unexpectedly snapped, leaving Arecibo’s fate much more perilous. After considering three separate engineering reports, the NSF, which owns the property, has decided the facility is unstable enough that there is no way to repair the damage that does not put personnel at undue risk.

  5. I recommend a sale to China. The NSF can then use the proceeds to fund a scientific study into whether systemic racism is strictly an Earth based phenomena.

  6. Just call in the Army engineers. They will lift the receiver out with a helicopter, blow the dish and replace it in no time. Be a good training exercise. And it wouldn’t be even a rounding error in the Pentagon’s budget..

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