The US National Science Foundation announced Thursday that it will not rebuild the famous Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, which was one of the largest in the world until it collapsed nearly two years ago.
Instead, the agency issued a call for a $5 million education center at the site that would promote programs and partnerships related to science, technology, engineering and math.
It is also seeking to implement a research and workforce development program, with the center slated to open next year in the northern mountain town of Arecibo, where the telescope once stood.
According to the Associated Press, the decision upset scientists around the world who have used the telescope at the Arecibo Observatory for years to search for asteroids, planets and extraterrestrial life.
The 1.000-foot-wide (305-meter-wide) dish was also featured in her film Jodie Foster "Contact" and in the movie James Bond "Golden Eye". The radio telescope allowed scientists to track asteroids headed for Earth, conduct research that led to a Nobel Prize, and determine whether a planet is potentially habitable.
The Arecibo radio telescope collapsed on its own in December 2020 after the telescope suffered two major cable malfunctions in the previous two months. The National Science Foundation released shocking footage since support cables snapped, causing the massive 900-tonne structure hovering over Arecibo to fall onto the observatory's iconic dish.