For nearly six decades, a 1,000 foot dish in a Puerto Rican forest has led the charge in searching for far away planets, alien life and tracking near-Earth asteroids. It’s also had cameos in television and film including the 1995 James Bond movie Goldeneye. Now, that dish is going dark.
The National Science Foundation said it is shutting down the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico due to safety concerns. The move comes after two incidents this year damaged the 57-year-old radio observatory.
So what does this mean for radio astronomy? First, we’ll talk with Arecibo Directory Francisco Cordova about the move to decommission the radio telescope and what work still lies ahead for Arecibo.
Then, we’ll talk with planetary scientists Paul Byrne about Arecibo’s lasting legacy and what facilities are currently available to help fill the void left by the end of this massive radio dish.
Exploring Arecibo’s impact — that’s ahead on Are We There Yet? here on America’s Space Station.
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