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Author Topic: Cradle to the grave - Arecibo Observatory Telescope Collapses  (Read 1041 times)

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Peon

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Cradle to the grave - Arecibo Observatory Telescope Collapses
« on: December 11, 2020, 04:41:32 pm »

The actual site that spawned the virtual battleground of countless epic Goldeneye 007 deathmatches has fallen apart, though unfortunately not killing a former MI-6 counter-agent in the process. And still, the image of this observatory is burned into my memory, not from actual science of course (because I'm un-sophisticated trash), but because I've loved engaging in simulated firefights with other men of culture in this iconic backdrop for 23+ years now. It seems to be gone before it's time, yet perpetually living on through the community that still plays Goldeneye, and the Cradle will always make me feel like a newborn gamer.

https://www.npr.org/2020/12/01/940767001/arecibo-observatory-telescope-collapses-ending-an-era-of-world-class-research
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CptLima

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Re: Cradle to the grave - Arecibo Observatory Telescope Collapses
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2020, 04:48:04 pm »

As someone who personally visited and toured the observatory in 2019, this really struck a chord with me. I will never forget standing in awe at its sheer size, or first catching a glimpse of it rise from the jungle as I drove up winding mountain roads to get there. As a fan of GoldenEye, Contact, and astronomy in general, I was needless to say already excited, but being there in person - walking through the engineering sections, riding around the base access roads on a tour, and spending time in the control room - exceeded my wildest expectations and left me smiling ear to ear for weeks.

It's a sad day for this area of Puerto Rico, just a short couple-hour drive west out of San Juan - I really hope they rebuild a similarly important scientific instrument at the site or nearby, because its presence inspired many in the area and was a symbol of prestige for the surrounding community. It's an even worse loss for astronomy, though, and is emblematic of our continued decline in this important field of science that has been woefully underfunded and deprioritized since the end of the Apollo era. There are so many unexplored areas of our Solar System and beyond that humanity should be endeavoring to learn as much as we can about... yet they remain shrouded in mystery while we send up the occasional probe or satellite.

Gone, unfortunately, is the age of great ambition, exploration, and daring that has marked so many important events in human history, replaced with idleness and content. I hope it one day soon comes back, and that spark is reignited in the right people who are provided with the resources to once again take humanity to higher levels of understanding of the Universe.

That all said, there's plenty of clickbait YouTube copies out there of the collapse, looking to make a quick buck by simply reuploading the NSF footage. I found this video, however, to be refreshingly different, which takes the time to really analyze the engineering and physics behind the collapse itself - check it out when you have 10 minutes or so; it's worth a watch to learn more about what specific points on the structure failed and how:
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