Arecibo observatory supporters ask White House to help save damaged radio telescope

Nov 24, 2020
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Just a question, but is it better to put a bandaid on Arecibo and push its eventual demise down the road another few years? Or, as technology has dramatically improved since it was originally built in 1963, can't we get more bang for our buck starting from scratch on a newer facility?

For example, when I was a kid, my neighbor had a satellite dish antenna that was probably a good 10'-12' in diameter. Now, the satellite TV dishes are about 14". I don't see anyone trying to keep those old dishes operating when much better tech is available.
 
Apr 7, 2020
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Just a question, but is it better to put a bandaid on Arecibo and push its eventual demise down the road another few years? Or, as technology has dramatically improved since it was originally built in 1963, can't we get more bang for our buck starting from scratch on a newer facility?

For example, when I was a kid, my neighbor had a satellite dish antenna that was probably a good 10'-12' in diameter. Now, the satellite TV dishes are about 14". I don't see anyone trying to keep those old dishes operating when much better tech is available.
From what I have read the question is moot. The dish is so degraded that it’s too dangerous to send people down there and even if it wasn’t it would cost more to rebuild it than simply build a new facility (which would seem to be a better use of the dollar anyway).
 
Mar 17, 2020
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Even if the owners get the money, then an engineering structural analysis should be done to see if repairs are worth it. First see if the structure can be stabilized. If it is too dangerous or expensive for supports, then knock it down. Also the telescope may be too old for added refurbishment and a new high tech unit may be a wiser choice.

Also, the telescope should not have any emotional barriers - it's not a landmark like the Leaning Tower of Pisa where historical and sentimental values play a picture. No tourists are flocking in to see the eyesore.
 

Wolfshadw

Moderator
Apr 1, 2020
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Even if the owners get the money, then an engineering structural analysis should be done to see if repairs are worth it. First see if the structure can be stabilized. If it is too dangerous or expensive for supports, then knock it down. Also the telescope may be too old for added refurbishment and a new high tech unit may be a wiser choice.
It's my understanding that this has already been accomplished. The structure is too dangerous for any type of repairs to be attempted. This is the main reason why it is being decommissioned.

-Wolf sends
 
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