The end of an era came unexpectedly this week, when the iconic Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico collapsed on December 1, exactly one month after his 57th birthday. And as it happens, the whole thing was sealed in spectacular drone shots that you can watch here right now.
Shots of drones from the collapse of Arecibo. I can’t believe the time they had a drone in the air when it happened. What strange luck. Source: @NSF pic.twitter.com/Kpfw47moAC
– TJ Cooney 🚀🎄 (@TJ_Cooney) December 3, 2020
The telescope, which came into operation in 1963 and was the largest spherical reflector plate until 201
Among the discoveries made with the telescope: the 59-day period of rotation of Mercury; the first solid evidence to support the existence of neutron stars; the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the first binary pulsar; the first observation of a comet using radar; and the first extrasolar planets identified.
He was also well known for his roles in several important stages of pop culture, the most famous James Bond film The Golden Eye (1995), where he was used in the film’s climax as the villain’s secret base. He also appeared in the films “Species” (1996) and “Contact” (1997), as well as in an episode of “The X-Files”, as well as in numerous video games and novels.
Alas, in 2010 it was shattered by a series of severe tropical storms and climate change-related hurricanes that ended in terrible damage from Hurricane Maria in 2017. Unfortunately, the 2016 elections led to a government, which does not want to fund repairs. Although the new funding sources were closed together at the end of 2018, at the end of November 2020 it was found that there was no way to safely repair the telescope and the National Science Foundation announced that it would be decommissioned.
Decommissioning was to continue after the NSF determined the safest method possible, but physics had other plans. So on December 4, the whole thing collapsed and collapsed almost without warning.
But while the late 1960s on scientific progress are sad, we’re glad that a historically significant event like this was at least filmed on video. You can see more of the crash here and watch how the telescope is used in “GoldenEye” below.