Technology & Science

Broken cable damages giant radio telescope in Puerto Rico

A broken cable caused severe damage at Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory, causing a suspension of operations for one of the world's largest single-dish radio telescopes, officials said Tuesday.

Telescope is one of the largest of its kind; featured in featured in films 'Contact' and 'GoldenEye'

This photo provided by the Arecibo Observatory, shows the damage done by a broken cable that supported a metal platform, creating a 30-metre gash in the radio telescope's reflector dish in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. The University of Central Florida that manages the National Science Foundation facility said eight panels in the dome also were damaged and the platform used to access the dome is now twisted. (Arecibo Observatory/ The Associated Press)

A broken cable caused severe damage at Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory, causing a suspension of operations for one of the world's largest single-dish radio telescopes, officials said Tuesday.

The University of Central Florida, which manages the National Science Foundation facility, said in a statement that a cable that helps support a metal platform broke and caused a 30-metre gash on a reflector dish. The university said eight panels in the dome also were damaged and the platform used to access the dome is now twisted.

The statement said it was unclear why the cable broke. The cost of the damage wasn't immediately known.

Scientists worldwide use the telescope to detect radio emissions emitted by objects such as stars and galaxies. It was featured in the Jodie Foster film Contact and the James Bond movie GoldenEye.

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