Puerto Rico plans to rebuild Arecibo telescope

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The recently decommissioned observatory could rise from the rubble thanks to a new $8M government pledge.

Situated in Puerto Rico and constructed during the 1960s, the instantly recognizable Arecibo Observatory was characterized by its huge 1,000ft dish built into a natural depression in the hills.

Sadly, though, it now looks very different from its heyday – with its dish cracked and split down the center and its 900-ton receiver platform, which used to be suspended by cables 400ft above it, lying in a crumpled heap on the ground after its remaining supports failed last month.

That said however, it looks as though the future of the Arecibo Observatory may not be quite as grim as it currently appears thanks to a new government pledge to reconstruct it in its entirety.

On December 28th, Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced signed a new executive order stating that it was to become the country’s formal policy to see the iconic telescope rebuilt.

“The Government of Puerto Rico states, as a matter of public policy, its conviction to the reconstruction of the Arecibo Radio Telescope and the prompt resumption of world class science and education at the Arecibo Observatory,” the order states.

The new version won’t be an exact reproduction however, as it will be redesigned to feature a larger effective aperture, a wider field of view and a more powerful radar transmitter.

An initial downpayment of $8 million has been pledged to help get the ball rolling.

Exactly when the new observatory will be completed however currently remains unclear.


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