Puncturing the metal mesh of the main dish
Won't make any difference. It'll reduce the gain slightly because those areas won't be reflective, but won't impede its operation. It is all the other stuff mentioned that's the problem.
In the midst of the humanitarian disaster unfolding after Puerto Rico was battered by Hurricane Maria, astronomers working at the Arecibo radio telescope have reported damage that will leave it unable to operate for months. Work done at Arecibo is the source of dozens of Reg stories, but there's been little news of late as the …
The main reflector of the Arecibo telescope is supported by steel cables and if any of these have been severed then it'll be likely to affect the alignment of larger areas of the dish. Similarly, some of the supporting cables, even if not severed, may have been over-stressed and may need to be replaced.
Quite frankly, I'm a bit surprised that they didn't lower the main receiver platform, not only to reduce the height it might drop but also to reduce stress on the supporting towers; hopefully, these have not been damaged or over-stressed.
yes, fix the people and their water, sewer, electric, etc. first (just so nobody thinks i'm a monster)
then . . . i hate to think it but the present administration will probably see this as a sign that the big beard in the sky hates radio astronomy and therefore won't fund fixing it . . . letting the equipment rot in the jungle for a few years, until a more enlightened administration happens, will insure it doesn't get fixed.
[ . . . or maybe all they need is their personal hatreds of science ]
...to the messages of greetings sent from Arecibo, but the phone was off the hook...
I am glad that everyone at the telescope is safe, and wish the whole country a speedy recovery from this awful situation.
My firefighter cousin and some of his specialist rescue team are over there helping to recover the infrastructure. (Good luck Steve and pals!)
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