Fallen Arecibo Observatory to be transformed into STEM education centre

The famous observatory, once the most significant radio telescope on Earth, collapsed in 2020 just after a number of its cables started to are unsuccessful.

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has determined to switch the iconic Arecibo Observatory into a STEM-centered schooling centre.

The 305-metre radio telescope, built internationally famed by videos this sort of as GoldenEye and Speak to, was regarded as a beacon for breakthrough science.

The observatory operated for 57 decades but was set to be decommissioned in 2020 immediately after a series of incidents left it harmed past maintenance. The system collapsed at the end of 2020 immediately after 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.

Hurt to the Arecibo Observatory just after its collapse on 1 December 2020. Image: Michelle Negron/Countrywide Science Foundation

Just before the observatory collapsed, the NSF said that even if repairs were created to Arecibo, the structure would still current extensive-expression steadiness issues.

Fairly than rebuild, the NSF has made a decision to change the site into a multidisciplinary centre to serve as a hub for STEM training and outreach.

The new instruction centre will function to promote mastering and instructing in just STEM and broaden participation. The centre will also look for to make and leverage current and new collaborations and help fundamental STEM education analysis.

The NSF said the scientific group has demonstrated assistance for an expanded academic facility, this kind of as the 2020 Decadal Study for Astronomy and Astrophysics (Astro2020).

“Astro2020 recognised that the observatory has, about the course of its virtually 60-calendar year heritage, become a hugely regarded section of the community for a lot of of Puerto Rico’s citizens, serving as a supply of pride and nearby economic advantage even though also offering obtain to coaching and work for many in the group,” the NSF claimed in a assertion.

The new centre is predicted to open sometime in 2023 and will develop on the present instruction and outreach possibilities currently in spot at the website.

The NSF is soliciting proposals to “manage the schooling, STEM investigate and outreach aspects of the centre”.

The Arecibo Observatory was the major radio telescope on Earth until finally China completed the 5-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (Speedy) in 2016.

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