Fallen Arecibo Observatory to be transformed into STEM education centre

The famed observatory, after the biggest radio telescope on Earth, collapsed in 2020 following a quantity of its cables began to fail.

The US National Science Basis (NSF) has decided to convert the iconic Arecibo Observatory into a STEM-targeted education centre.

The 305-metre radio telescope, created internationally renowned by videos such as GoldenEye and Call, was regarded as a beacon for breakthrough science.

The observatory operated for 57 a long time but was set to be decommissioned in 2020 just after a collection of incidents left it weakened outside of repair. The system collapsed at the end of 2020 following a third cable snapped off.

A site of debris with trees and a cloudy sky in the background. It is the Arecibo Observatory after it collapsed in 2020.

Injury to the Arecibo Observatory following its collapse on 1 December 2020. Picture: Michelle Negron/National Science Foundation

Ahead of the observatory collapsed, the NSF said that even if repairs had been created to Arecibo, the composition would nevertheless existing very long-time period security problems.

Instead than rebuild, the NSF has decided to turn the website into a multidisciplinary centre to provide as a hub for STEM education and outreach.

The new schooling centre will work to market finding out and teaching within STEM and broaden participation. The centre will also seek to build and leverage current and new collaborations and assist essential STEM schooling investigate.

The NSF claimed the scientific neighborhood has demonstrated help for an expanded educational facility, these kinds of as the 2020 Decadal Survey for Astronomy and Astrophysics (Astro2020).

“Astro2020 recognised that the observatory has, more than the training course of its virtually 60-yr history, develop into a extremely regarded part of the local community for several of Puerto Rico’s citizens, serving as a resource of satisfaction and regional financial profit whilst also supplying entry to education and employment for lots of in the local community,” the NSF stated in a statement.

The new centre is predicted to open sometime in 2023 and will develop upon the present education and learning and outreach prospects presently in location at the web-site.

The NSF is soliciting proposals to “manage the education and learning, STEM exploration and outreach areas of the centre”.

The Arecibo Observatory was the premier radio telescope on Earth right up until China concluded the Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (Rapidly) in 2016.

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