Government of Puerto Rico Initiates Efforts to Rebuild Arecibo Observatory

Arecibo Observatory BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of UCF.

Puerto Rico seems to start in 2021 with good news.

Following the collapse of the Arecibo Observatory radio telescope late last year, the island’s government announced its intentions to rebuild the structure that became famous for being the location of Goldeneye’s climax scene.

Although the observatory itself can continue its functions, the radio telescope collapsed before the world’s eyes in early December.

According to Engadget, Puerto Rico’s Governor, Wanda Vazquez, allocated $8 million for the reconstruction effort. Although the funds are not sufficient for its full recovery, it is the first step in a larger fundraising initiative.

Its reconstruction is essential as a matter of “public policy” and the Observatory’s re-establishment as a “world-class educational center,” the governor’s office said.

The National Science Foundation said it would tear down the Observatory because the repairs would be too dangerous, although that does not rule out building a new structure in its place.

In a statement to Engadget, an NSF spokesman said that funding and building the infrastructure is a “well-established, multi-year process” that will involve assessing the needs of the scientific community as well as environmental and cultural impacts.

“As the Arecibo Observatory’s 305-meter telescope only recently collapsed, NSF cannot comment on any potential future plans at this time. However, we will continue to work with Congress on the issue, including complying with language accompanying the new omnibus spending package,” the NSF added.

“NSF emphasizes that the observatory is not closing. Research involving archived data from the 305-meter telescope will continue, and NSF is looking for ways to restore operations with the observatory’s other infrastructure as soon as possible, including the 12-meter telescope and LIDAR facilities,” they concluded. “NSF will continue the work of clearing and securing the site of the 305-meter telescope and looks forward to working with Puerto Rico to find new ways to support the scientific community and the local community.”