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National science foundation planning for decommissioning of Arecibo Observatory 305 meter telescope due to safety concern

  • Uncategorized
  • Dec 14, 2020

Engineers witnessed a problem that is Arecibo observatory can’t be stabilize without risk to construction worker and staff at the facility. It is planned to decommission Arecibo observatory which serves from past 57 years. It is a world class radio astronomy, planetary, solar system and geospace research. It is placed in US right now, this 305 meter telescope always gave appropriate data and photos so that we can prepare ourselves from any disaster that can be witnessed by this huge machinery. NSF evaluated multiple assessments by some independent engineers companies that found a problem in the telescope, the structure is in danger of a catastrophic failure and its cable may no longer be capable of carrying the loads they were designed to support. Furthermore, several assessments stated that the life of workers may come in great danger if they try to get it repair because the cables are now decaying by the time and so no one knows when it will fall and put most of the lives in a great danger. Post that engineers also find that its structure would likely present long term stability issues and need an upgrade version and modification.

NSF officials told about the details and problem to reporters that two broken cables used to support a 900 ton platform suspended over the telescope’s 305 meter main dish put the entire structure at risk of collapse, the cables don’t have the magnitude to hold it because of many reasons like climate change and all. One cable slipped out of its socket in August, falling to the dish below and damaging it, while the second broke on 6 November. The attachment of both cables was from same tower and main dish was surrounded by one of three cable. It is advised by engineers that if one more cable break it will result in an uncontrolled collapse of structure. The platform will crash down to the main dish and potentially toppling one or more of the towers and it will be heavy loss of capital and resources.

It is advised to engineers and the university of central California which takes total control of Arecibo concluded that it was not possible to safely repair the structure because of the collapse risk. It is not allowed to the personnel on the platform or the towers or anywhere in their immediate physical vicinity in case of potential sudden structural failure, one firm of engineer involved in the total analysis. Now it is planned that engineers are working on a plan to carry out that controlled decommissioning, since it is a giant machine so it will take several weeks to decommission it without risking life of workers. The execution of that controlled decommissioning is unknown at this point. The procedure is too long and should be done with all safety measures. For now it is decided that it will be decommission this structure with the help of explosives. It is recommended by the engineers that use of explosive to demolish the parts of the telescope will be easy and will not harm any life. We believe the structure will collapse in the future if left untouched. A specific sequence will be followed by engineers and at a particular time only. Engineers are still studying why the two cables brokeas one of the cable was set of auxiliary cables installed in the 1990s.