Cable failures endanger renowned Puerto Rico radio telescope

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Massive ageing cables that sustain one of the largest single-dish telescopes in the world are increasingly unraveling on US soil, pushed to the verge of the failure by an observatory famed for its key position in celestial discoveries.

The Arecibo observatory, tied above the sinkhole in Puerto Rico's lush mountainous area, has a 1000 foot (305-meter) large dish from the film "Touch" by the Jodie Foster and the James Bond movie "GoldenEye," which is used to monitor asteroids on their way into Earth and which contributed to the Nobel Prize and enabled scientists to avoid it The platform and dome above the platform are used for study.

"I am afraid as someone who is Arecibo based on my science.

Right now the condition is really troubling.

There's a risk of cascading, tragic collapse," Astronomer Scott Ransom said of Gravitational Waves North American Nanohertz Observatory, a consortium of U.S. and Canadian scientists.

Last week one of the key stainless steel cables of the telescope which could carry 1.200 kilograms (544 kilograms) was only 624 kilograms (283 kilograms).

After an auxiliary cable snapped in August and tearing down a 100 foot pit, this failure managed to weaken the reflector platter further The dome above it.

Officers shared surprise at having reviewed the structure in August and assumed that the weight change should be handled in line with prior inspections.

More than 250 physicists worldwide have used it as a hit to the telescope.

It is also one of the largest tourist destinations in Puerto Rico and draws about 90,000 tourists annually.

Study since August has been halted, including a research effort that lets scientists identify neighboring galaxies.

The telescope was built in the 1960s and funded by the Department of Defense in an attempt to improve anti-ballistic missile defenses.

It has been recovering from disasters for half a century, including hurricanes and earthquakes.

Hurricane Maria reconstruction was already in service when the first cable broke and destroyed Puerto Rico in 2017.

Some new cables are planned for coming next month, but officials claim that repair funding for federal agencies has not been established.

Scientists advise of the run-off period.

Only a few cables still support the network for 900 tonnes.

The University of Central Florida, which runs the facility, said in a statement on Friday, "Any other cable of the system now carries more weight than previously, raising the probability of another breakdown of the cable, which will potentially trigger the whole structure to collapse.

Officials at the university state that wire cracks were visible on two of the remaining principal cables.

You warn that despite depending heavily on drones and remote cameras to determine the losses, staff and contractor are in danger.

The Observatory reports the loss in excess of $12 million and receives funds from a government independent organization the National Research Foundation operated by the observatory.

Foundation spokesperson Rob Margetta said the engineering has not been finished and cost projections are unlikely to include Congress and negotiations with involved parties.

He reported that the department evaluates "all Arecibo intervention suggestions."

"The judgment on the structure's protection is essentially the duty of the NSF," he said in a mail.

"The welfare of everyone at the site is our greatest concern."

University officials and the observatory claimed not to be eligible for comment by Francisco Córdova, Operator of the telescope. In a Facebook message, the observatory confirmed that maintenance was up-to-date.

The last damage was presumably attributed to a drop in cable over time and extra weight when the auxiliary cable broke, says the university. In the month of August, the socket retained the cable collapsed.

Researchers such as Edgard Rivera-Valentín, a scientist of the Lunar and the Planetary Institute of the University of Space Science Association in Texas, had started operating because of difficulties.

He said, "I'm not going to be around the next time this amount of radar data is available." "This is the nearest Mars, though it was still visible from arecibo until 2067.

The observatory of Puerto Rico is known as crucial for the observation of the pulsars, the remains of the stars that can be used for measuring waves of gravitations, a phénomene expected by Albert Einstein in his theory of the relativity generally.

Alex Wolszczan, a Polish-born astronomer and professor at Pennsylvania State University said He's over 50 years old but it remains a really powerful weapon.

The first extrasolar and pulser planets he helped find and credited the observatory with a community that encouraged it to test what he described as insane ideas that often succeeded.

"The lack of what I consider to be an incredibly valuable research will be a massive hit." said Wolszczan.

Wolszczan was an astronomer at the observatory in the 1980s and early 1990s and still uses the telescope for certain work as it provides an unrivaled combination of high frequency range and sensitivity to enable a 'enormous' variety of research ventures.

Carmen Pantoja, an astronomer and lecturer at the University of Puerto Rico, the island's largest public institution, said the Telescope was both a testing ground for graduate students and a great deal of concern for their educational opportunities.

She depended on her doctoral dissertation and remembered that she was looking at it as if she were a little child.

"I was struck by how large and enigmatic it was, she said The telescope's existence depends to a great degree on what role the National Science Foundation takes.