While waiting to be demolished, as it was deemed irreparable, Puerto Rico’s giant Arecibo radio telescope has collapsed.

So not only can the United States not build big things any more, not only can the United States not maintain big things that it cannot build any more, but it cannot even demolish them in a timely manner:

A huge radio telescope in Puerto Rico that has played a key role in astronomical discoveries for more than half a century collapsed on Tuesday, officials said.

The telescope’s 900-ton receiver platform fell onto the reflector dish more than 400 feet below.

The US National Science Foundation had earlier announced that the Arecibo Observatory would be closed. An auxiliary cable snapped in August, causing a 100ft gash on the 1,000ft-wide (305m) reflector dish and damaged the receiver platform that hung above it. Then a main cable broke in early November.


The telescope was built in the 1960s with money from the US defense department amid a push to develop anti-ballistic missile defenses. It had endured hurricanes, tropical humidity and a recent string of earthquakes in its 57 years of operation.

This sucks.

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