- The world's largest single-dish radio telescope is hanging precariously after one of its cables almost snapped
- Arecibo Observatory, located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, was seriously damaged when an earthquake hit January 13
- The fierce trembling nearly 'spliced' one of the cables supporting the reflector platform that hovers 450 ft in the air
- It will take some time to fully repair
- The dish was made famous from such Hollywood films as GoldenEye and Contact
The world's largest single-dish radio telescope, made famous from such Hollywood films as GoldenEye and Contact, is hanging precariously after one of its cables almost snapped.
Arecibo Observatory, located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, was seriously damaged when an earthquake hit last month.
The fierce trembling nearly snapped one of the cables supporting the reflector platform that hovers 450 ft in the air.
Damage: The world's largest single-dish radio telescope, pictured, is hanging precariously after on of its cable's almost snapped last month
According to Universe Today, the Cornell University-operated observatory already knew the now-precarious cable was a weak point prior to the January 13 earthquake.
'A protocol structural survey following the January 13 earthquake revealed serious damage to [a] short cable section, with apparent breach of several cable strands, ' Arecibo Observatory director Bob Kerr told Universe Today.
The 1, 000-ft diameter concave reflector is made of thousands of perforated aluminum panels, and steers incoming waves to the 9, 00-ton platform suspended above.
Eighteen cables strung between three concrete towers hold up the reflector.
Major tremors: Arecibo Observatory, located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, was seriously damaged when a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit January 13
While the observatory was being constructed in 1962, a cable that was too short was lengthened with a splice.
But the 6.4-magnitude quake did some serious damage to the patched cable, causing it to lose several strands.
'You might say that our structural Achilles heel was exposed, ' Kerr explained.
Despite the damage, the telescope remains functional thought, for the meantime, it's being used with a reduced range of motion.
Arecibo's maintenance staff, working with New York bridge construction company, Ammann & Whitney Bridge Construction, are planning a long-term repair of the fragile cable.
GoldenEye: In 1995's GoldenEye, pictured, the 17th James Bond film and the first featuring Pierce Brosnan as Bond, climactic scenes of the hero on a satellite dish were shot at Arecibo Observatory
The company, which has been inspecting the observatory since 1972, has already assessed the situation and designed a temporary repair option costing just $100, 000 that should be finished by March 11.
They're confident they'll get it back up and running at full functionality sometime in the future, however.
In 1995's GoldenEye, the 17th James Bond film and the first featuring Pierce Brosnan as Bond, climactic scenes of the hero on a satellite dish were shot at Arecibo Observatory.
The earthquake's epicenter was located in the ocean about 37 miles northwest of Arecibo and was one of the largest to hit Puerto Rico in several years.
The quake caused cracking in some of the island's buildings and homes and power outages, but no injuries were reported, officials said.
However, the tremors continued so days with at least 70 aftershocks. Three of these measured 3.5 or greater.
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