The National Science Foundation (NSF) won’t rebuild the massive Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico following its collapse in late 2020. The agency instead plans to build an education center focused on STEM education and outreach, according to an NSF announcement.
The Arecibo Observatory was an important tool for deep-space observation and featured in films such as Contact and GoldenEye. But in August 2020, an auxiliary cable fell, with another cable failing in November. The NSF feared that others might have followed, which would have put Arecibo at risk, and said that it planned to demolish the observatory. But before that could happen, Arecibo collapsed in on itself.
The unnamed new center is set to open sometime in 2023. The NSF is soliciting proposals to manage “the education, STEM research, and outreach aspects of the center.” The investigation into what led to the collapse of Arecibo is ongoing, the Associated Press reports.