Plan to rebuild and replace the Arecibo Telescope


The Arecibo Telescope, with its 1,000-foot-wide dish served astronomers since 1960’s but collapsed in 2020. It did radar mapping of near-Earth asteroids, Venus, and the moon and even sent a radio message from Earth to a globular cluster 25,000 light years away. It is not more working. There are several proposals to replace the Arecibo telescope with a modern observatory, knowing that the radio technology has advanced considerably. One of the proposals is called the Next Generation Arecibo Telescope. The team proposes an array of 102 13-meter dishes, arranged in a fixed circular array 130 meters across.


Less than half the diameter of the original Arecibo Telescope, it will have more than a hundred receivers and would be more sensitive. The new design could function as a single dish. The weight of the structure is estimated to be 4300 tons. It would be significantly lighter and easier to maintain than the original design. It could be however decades before a new telescope is built at Arecibo Observatory because funding a such project is a big problem. The preliminary study is a promise and it sustains the humanity’s hope to discover one day the big secrets of the Universe.


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