The famous observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, featured in the James Bond movie “GoldenEye,” has been forced to temporarily close after a broken cable smashed through the side of its massive dish.
Around 2:45 a.m. Monday, a three-inch auxiliary cable that helped support a metal platform broke, according to a news release from the University of Central Florida. UCF manages the facility alongside Universidad Ana G. Méndez and Yang Enterprises, Inc.
When the cable broke, it created a 100-foot gash in the telescope’s 1,000-foot-long reflector dish, according to UCF. It also damaged about six to eight panels along the observatory’s Gregorian Dome, which is suspended over the reflector dish.
The broken cable also twisted a platform used to access the Gregorian Dome, making damage assessment even more difficult.
“The folks at the facility are working with engineers and other experts to asses and secure equipment at the facility,” Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala, UCF Office of Research and College of Graduate Studies’ assistant vice president for strategic communications told CNN. “That started (Tuesday) and is continuing through this week.”
Gonzalez Kotala says they are hoping to have more information at a media briefing on Friday
The telescope has been an integral part of a number of scientific discoveries since it opened in 1963. It was made even more famous in popular culture when it was featured in the 007 movie, “Goldeneye” in 1995.
Arecibo Observatory has survived a number of hurricanes, even earthquakes.
“Through it all, the facility has continued to contribute to significant breakthroughs in space research in the area of gravitational waves, asteroid characterization, planetary exploration and more,” the UCF release said.