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Broken Cable Damages Arecibo Observatory

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Winston

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"It is not yet clear what caused the cable to break." Perhaps inadequate scheduled preventative inspection and maintenance?

Broken Cable Damages Arecibo Observatory
The National Science Foundation facility is closed while engineers review the damage and assess the extent of repairs that will be needed to bring the telescope back online.
AUGUST 11, 2020


One of the auxiliary cables that helps support a metal platform in place above the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, broke on Monday (Aug. 10) causing a 100-foot-long gash on the telescope’s reflector dish. Operations at the UCF-managed observatory are stopped until repairs can be made.

The break occurred about 2:45 a.m. When the three-inch cable fell it also damaged about 6-8 panels in the Gregorian Dome and twisted the platform used to access the dome. It is not yet clear what caused the cable to break.


 

JoePfeiffer

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Saw today another cable snapped, and it's collapsed.
 

BEC

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Yes, sadly, it's collapsed.

Scott Manley on that here:
 

Marc_G

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Seriously, what are the chances of that set of cables giving way, right when the drone was there focused on the failure point?

I'm not a conspiracy theorist and I'm not suggesting any wrongdoing here (other than, the maintenance budget clearly should have been higher), but coincidences like this make me wonder.
 

rklapp

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Seriously, what are the chances of that set of cables giving way, right when the drone was there focused on the failure point?

I'm not a conspiracy theorist and I'm not suggesting any wrongdoing here (other than, the maintenance budget clearly should have been higher), but coincidences like this make me wonder.
I’m thinking they had a stress meter on the cables so they knew it was about to blow. There's something wrapped around two of the cables. Another possibility is that Hugo Chavez cut the cables. ;) 😄

I wonder how many low budget action movies will use the footage in their climatic scenes? 🏃‍♂️🏃‍♀️
 

Winston

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Rebuild the Arecibo Observatory Petition



Questions I've not seen asked anywhere in mainstream news sources or videos, not even ones targeting science or even this specific topic. I asked Arecibo directly via a question form submission on their web page. If I don't get an answer, I'll be sending emails directly to the right people. In the mean time, I've already requested from the research department of my local library a 1997 article about the Arecibo upgrade that's behind a paywall.

1. When were the cables which apparently failed far ahead of their projected time and whose failures led to this totally catastrophic cascade failure installed? During the 1997 upgrades? News sources I can find simply say "in the 90s."
2. Who made them? Not who supplied them, who made them?
3. Where were they made?
4. Where were the relevant components used in the cables made?
 

David J

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Some young, enterprising soul should get the salvage rights and sell pieces of the reflector bowl!
 

rklapp

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Rebuild the Arecibo Observatory Petition



Questions I've not seen asked anywhere in mainstream news sources or videos, not even ones targeting science or even this specific topic. I asked Arecibo directly via a question form submission on their web page. If I don't get an answer, I'll be sending emails directly to the right people. In the mean time, I've already requested from the research department of my local library a 1997 article about the Arecibo upgrade that's behind a paywall.

1. When were the cables which apparently failed far ahead of their projected time and whose failures led to this totally catastrophic cascade failure installed? During the 1997 upgrades? News sources I can find simply say "in the 90s."
2. Who made them? Not who supplied them, who made them?
3. Where were they made?
4. Where were the relevant components used in the cables made?
In the drone video I posted above, it looks to me like they added an additional cable that is attached above the others. This appreared to be the last to go so is newer (AFAIK) but couldn't take the weight when the others went. If so, I wonder what the story was with that.
 

Winston

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In the drone video I posted above, it looks to me like they added an additional cable that is attached above the others. This appreared to be the last to go so is newer (AFAIK) but couldn't take the weight when the others went. If so, I wonder what the story was with that.
From what I've read, the newest cables are the ones that initially failed causing the entire chain of events. I believe they were installed during a 1990s upgrade, I believe due to additional weight of instruments at the focal point.

I find the TOTAL absence of "How in the HELL did this happen!?" questions, at least in what coverage I can find, puzzling... or maybe not.
 
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