Unfortunately, this is not the first hurdle Arecibo has endured. She faced major financial problems in 2008 and again in 2016. Then, like many in Puerto Rico, the Observatory suffered significant damage during Hurricane Maria. Things seemed to be turning in 2018 when a UCF-led group undertook operations from the National Science Foundation, and last year, Arecibo received a $ 19 million grant from NASA.
It is unclear how long the Observatory will be out of commission or how much the repairs will cost.
“We have a team of experts assessing the situation,”; Francisco Cordova, director of the Observatory, said in a statement. “Our focus is to ensure the safety of our staff, the protection of facilities and equipment, and the restoration of the facility to full operations as soon as possible so that it can continue to assist scientists around the world.”
While the Arecibo Observatory, built in the 1960s, is certainly neither the newest nor the most advanced telescope, it is still one of the largest in the world. According to American scientist, is particularly good at locating gravitational waves and pulsars, and has been used repeatedly to better understand near-Earth asteroids. The observatory has certainly recovered from obstacles in the past. Hopefully, this time it will not be any different.