Call now! (ID:121746)+44-20-3695-1294
HomealiensAlien-hunting ‘GoldenEye’ Arecibo telescope collapses into ruins

Alien-hunting ‘GoldenEye’ Arecibo telescope collapses into ruins

Alien-hunting ‘GoldenEye’ Arecibo telescope collapses into ruins
The Arecibo Observatory is seen collapsed after one of the main cables holding the structure broke in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, on December 1, 2020. - The radio telescope in Puerto Rico, which once starred in a James Bond film, collapsed Tuesday when its 900-ton receiver platform fell 450 feet (140 meters) and smashed onto the radio dish below. (Photo by Ricardo ARDUENGO / AFP) (Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images)
The Arecibo Observatory is seen collapsed after one of the main cables holding the structure broke in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, on December 1, 2020. (Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images)

The famous Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico has collapsed after it was decommissioned last month over safety concerns.

The giant radio telescope has been a mainstay in the search for extra-terrestrial life for over 50 years.

But yesterday morning at around 8am local time a cable holding up a 900-tonne receiver platform snapped. The massive structure fell over 400 feet down and smashed into the main reflector dish.

This latest damage follows on from the breaking of an auxiliary cable in August that caused a 100-foot gash across the structure.

When officials surveyed the damage in early November, the safety concerns were too great and the telescope was shut down.

This aerial view shows the damage at the Arecibo Observatory after one of the main cables holding the reciever broke in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, on December 1, 2020. - The radio telescope in Puerto Rico, which once starred in a James Bond film, collapsed Tuesday when its 900-ton receiver platform fell 450 feet (140 meters) and smashed onto the radio dish below. (Photo by Ricardo ARDUENGO / AFP) (Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images)
This aerial view shows the damage at the Arecibo Observatory after one of the main cables holding the receiver broke (Photo by Ricardo ARDUENGO / AFP)

Now it seems the site, which was featured in the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye will be left to fall into ruin.

Arecibo Observatory is famous for detecting whirling pulsars, capturing geological features of Mars and helping astronomers discover the near-Earth asteroid Bennu.

The giant telescope was also used in programs that search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) because its location provided scientists access to one-third of the cosmos.

News of its demise has been greeted with heartache from the global scientific community.

‘It sounded like a rumble. I knew exactly what it was,’ said Jonathan Friedman, who worked for 26 years as a senior research associate at the observatory and still lives near it. 

‘I was screaming. Personally, I was out of control…. I don’t have words to express it. It’s a very deep, terrible feeling.’ 

FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020 file photo, provided by the Arecibo Observatory, shows the damage done by a broken cable that supported a metal platform, creating a 100-foot (30-meter) gash to the radio telescope's reflector dish in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Giant, aging cables that support the radio telescopes are slowly unraveling in this U.S. territory, threatening scientific projects that researchers say can???t be done elsewhere on the planet. (Arecibo Observatory via AP)
This is the damage done by a broken cable that supported a metal platform back in August (Credits: AP)

After hearing the distant roar, Friedman said he ran up a small hill near his home and saw a thick cloud of dust hanging over the location of the telescope – confirming his suspicions and greatest fear. 

SETI Institute gave the telescope a personal farewell on November 20 when Arecibo was only set to be ‘taken apart and tucked away.’

Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomert wrote: ‘Losing Arecibo is like losing a big brother. While life will continue, something powerful and profoundly wonderful is gone.’

(FILES)This file aerial view shows a hole in the dish panels of the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, on November 19, 2020. - The renowned Arecibo Observatory telescope in Puerto Rico collapsed on December 1, 2020, officials said, weeks after an announcement that the vast structure would be dismantled due to its decrepit and dangerous condition. Two cables holding the instruments platform above the 1,000 feet (300 meter) diameter radio dish had snapped in recent months, and engineers had warned that it was on the brink of collapse. (Photo by Ricardo ARDUENGO / AFP) (Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images)
This aerial view shows a hole in the dish panels of the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, on November 19, 2020. (Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images)

The telescope was built in the 1960s with money from the Defence Department amid a push to develop anti-ballistic missile defences.

In its 57 years of operation, it endured hurricanes, endless humidity and a recent string of strong earthquakes.