Fallen Arecibo Observatory to be transformed into STEM education centre

Maria J. Smith

The famous observatory, the moment the greatest radio telescope on Earth, collapsed in 2020 soon after a amount of its cables started to fail.

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

The 305-metre radio telescope, made internationally well known by movies such as GoldenEye and Get in touch with, was regarded as a beacon for breakthrough science.

The observatory operated for 57 yrs but was set to be decommissioned in 2020 soon after a sequence of incidents remaining it weakened outside of fix. The platform collapsed at the conclude of 2020 after a 3rd 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.

Damage to the Arecibo Observatory immediately after its collapse on 1 December 2020. Graphic: Michelle Negron/Nationwide Science Foundation

In advance of the observatory collapsed, the NSF stated that even if repairs had been created to Arecibo, the structure would nonetheless existing lengthy-time period steadiness challenges.

Rather than rebuild, the NSF has resolved to turn the web-site into a multidisciplinary centre to serve as a hub for STEM schooling and outreach.

The new education and learning centre will perform to encourage learning and teaching inside of STEM and broaden participation. The centre will also search for to create and leverage current and new collaborations and assist basic STEM instruction exploration.

The NSF mentioned the scientific community has shown guidance for an expanded instructional facility, this kind of as the 2020 Decadal Survey for Astronomy and Astrophysics (Astro2020).

“Astro2020 recognised that the observatory has, about the study course of its nearly 60-year background, grow to be a extremely regarded portion of the local community for lots of of Puerto Rico’s citizens, serving as a resource of pride and nearby financial gain though also delivering access to teaching and employment for numerous in the community,” the NSF reported in a statement.

The new centre is predicted to open sometime in 2023 and will expand upon the current training and outreach opportunities at the moment in spot at the web site.

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

The Arecibo Observatory was the premier radio telescope on Earth until finally China done the Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (Quickly) in 2016.

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