The Collapse of the Arecibo


Quinn Dickens, Video Editor


Recently, on December 1st, The Arecibo Observatory, located in Puerto Rico, has been critically damaged and multiple videos of the event were caught.

The platform that hung above the dish was suspended by cables, but on this clip here you can see the very support cables that snapped leading to the domino effect of the other cables snapping loose. No one was hurt in the matter.


The Arecibo observatory was like a father figure to most on the small island it was stationed on, it was an inspiration to most and a point of pride for the people. The Arecibo is responsible for multiple scientific discoveries and was at one point the largest observatory on the planet. You might know Arecibo for the message it beamed into space called “The Arecibo Message”. It was the first radio message directed towards supposed extra-terrestrial life 25,000 lightyears distant. In this message, it carried information and data about Earth and humans. 

The Arecibo is responsible for so much scientific discovery and was a wonderful tool for scientists to learn more about our world and to grasp and understanding of it. It’s truly sad that it collapsed, and right now the internet mourns. The National Scientific Foundation made a tweet following what happened “NSF is saddened by this development. As we move forward, we will be looking for ways to assist the scientific community and maintain our strong relationship with the people of Puerto Rico.”

A month ago, the Arecibo was decommissioned because of the lingering threat of structural instability. The cables that held the platform above the dish started to snap and strands in the cable had already started to come off. And on December 1st, one of the cables gave way and was recorded by a drone hovering very close to the point of failure. Because of it, a domino effect of the other cables snapping started and it allowed the platform to crash into the dish.

There are plans to scavenge parts from the wreck but plans of rebuilding or preserving are only thoughts at the moment.