Famous Arecibo space telescope featured in Bond’s GoldenEye film has collapses in Puerto Rico

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THE famous Arecibo space telescope which featured in the James Bond movie GoldenEye collapsed in Puerto Rico after mounting safety concerns. 

One of the largest telescopes in the world, the observatory’s 900-ton instrument platform fell 450ft onto the reflector dish below on December 1, creating a devastating hole in the structure.

AFP or licensors

The famous telescope collapsed on Tuesday, December 1 after mounting safety concerns[/caption]

Capital Pictures

The Arecibo telescope was used in the 1995 James Bond GoldenEye film[/caption]

The Arecibo telescope become well-known for its use as a dramatic backdrop in films including the 1995 James Bond instalment GoldenEye and the 1997 sci-fi film Contact, with Matthew McConaughey. 

Senior Research associate Jonathan Friedman, who lived near the telescope and worked there for 26 years, heard the monumental crash on Tuesday, December 1 at 07.55 local time. 

He said:  “It sounded like a rumble. I knew exactly what it was.

“I was screaming.

“Personally, I was out of control… I don’t have words to express it. It’s a very deep, terrible feeling.”

The telescope has been a vital instrument for radio astronomers for 57 years. 

The US National Science Foundation said it was “saddened” by the collapse and would look for ways to help “the scientific community and maintain our strong relationship with the people of Puerto Rico”.

The monumental crash came just weeks after officials decided to dismantle the enormous telescope over safety fears. 

Two cables which held the weighty viewing platform had broken since August, forcing officials to close the site. 

AFP or licensors

The 900-ton viewing platform came crashing down onto the 1000ft wide disk[/caption]

AP:Associated Press

Researcher Jonathan Freidman said he had a “very deep, terrible feeling” after he heard the crash[/caption]

Kobal Collection – Rex Features

Pierce Brosnan scaled the structure in his 1995 debut performance as James Bond[/caption]

AFP or licensors

The telescope was closed last month with fears it was at risk of collapse[/caption]

Last month, it was warned the telescope was “at risk of catastrophic collapse” and that repairs could pose a deadly risk to construction workers. 

The NSF said in a statement: “Initial findings indicate that the top section of all three of the… telescope’s support towers broke off. 

“As the 900-ton instrument platform fell, the telescope’s support cables also dropped.

“Preliminary assessments indicate the observatory’s learning centre sustained significant damage from falling cables.”

The NSF added: “Top priorities are maintaining safety at the site, conducting a complete damage assessment as quickly as possible, and taking action to contain and mitigate any environmental damage caused by the structure or its materials.

“While the telescope was a key part of the facility, the observatory has other scientific and educational infrastructure that NSF will work with stakeholders to bring back online”

No injuries were reported after the crash and an investigation has been launched to find out what happened. 

The famous telescope was built in the 1960s with the aim of studying the ionised upper part of the Earth’s atmosphere. 

It quickly became an all-purpose radio observatory – and found the first evidence for an object known as a neutron star.

The telescope has also been used to listen for intelligent life elsewhere in the cosmos and to track near-Earth asteroids.

But the telescope may be best known for featuring in the 1995 GoldenEye film – where Pierce Brosnan made his debut performance as the special agent. 

AP:Associated Press

The telescope has been a vital instrument for scientists for 57 years[/caption]


In investigation into the collapse is ongoing[/caption]

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