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Are We There Yet? Podcast

Arecibo’s Legacy

Operations at the UCF-managed Arecibo Observatory (pictured here in the spring of 2019) are stopped until repairs can be made from an incident in August that caused a 100-foot-long gash on the telescope’s reflector dish. Photo: UCF

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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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to ... Read Full Bio »