The US National Science Foundation has released a video that captures the moment the 900-ton platform of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico collapses onto its antenna.
A small video contains footage taken by a stationary camera installed near the telescope, as well as footage from a drone that is above the telescope at the time of the collapse. The drone operator managed to direct the drone camera down and capture the moment the platform fell, notes The Verge. The video shows how several cables holding the platform break, and then it falls down. Earlier it was reported that no one was injured during the collapse.
Recall that the collapse occurred a few days after the US National Science Foundation decided to take the telescope out of service and dismantle it. The reason for this decision was the emergency condition of the 57-year-old radio telescope. In August of this year, one of the auxiliary cables, holding the heavy platform in the air, broke. It crashed into the bottom of the telescope and caused millions of dollars in damage. In November, one of the main cables came off. As a result, experts concluded that attempts to repair the structure threaten the workers and lead to its collapse. It was assumed that specialists would re-evaluate the antenna’s condition to draw up a plan for controlled demolition of the telescope. Still, now we are talking about parsing the debris and then dismantling the remaining elements.
The Arecibo radio telescope consisted of a spherical antenna with a diameter of 305 meters, located in a sinkhole, and a 900-ton mobile platform with a feed, suspended at the height of 137 meters above the antenna by 18 metal cables connected to three concrete towers. For more than 50 years of operation, the Arecibo radio telescope has greatly contributed to science. With its help, the PSR B1257 + 12 pulsar was discovered, around which the first known exoplanets orbit. The telescope also recorded fast radio bursts, and in 1974 a radio signal was sent from it to the globular star cluster M13.
The Arecibo radio telescope has also more than once become a filming location for TV shows and movies during its existence. In particular, the final episodes of the film “Golden Eye” were filmed there (one of the films about the super-agent James Bond, in which Pierce Brosnan played a British spy).