October 23, 2021

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Scientists want to build a new, very different Arecibo Telescope to replace fallen icon

15 min read

Arecibo Observatory‘s massive radio dish was many things to many people: pulsar finder, broadcaster to aliens, asteroid mapper, Bond villain’s hidden satellite dish, Puerto Rican icon, birthplace of future scientists. Until seven months ago, that is, when gravity got the best of an engineering marvel that had endured everything thrown its way for decades and the entire platform crashed down.

Since that fateful day, plenty of eyes have turned to analyzing what went wrong, while many hands have gotten to work sorting through and cleaning up the wreckage. And the brains have been doing what brains do best: dreaming of what science might come next for the site. For one group of scientists with deep ties to Arecibo, that meant dreaming up an entirely new type of telescope: one that would fill the gap left by the iconic instrument, then go much further.

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