back to article America's largest radio telescope close to collapse as engineers race to fix fraying cables

The remaining cables supporting a 900-ton platform hanging over America’s largest radio telescope are struggling to take the load, threatening the 1,000-ft wide reflector dish. The Arecibo Observatory instrument, located in a national forest in Puerto Rico, was the largest radio telescope of its kind in the world until 2016 …

  1. Adair Silver badge

    Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

    (that'll be my bet until evidence suggests otherwise)

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

      That was my thinking, the Arecibo dish is 57 years old and has had 900 tons hanging on the cables for all that time. I wonder if it was surveyed as often as a bridge would be?

      1. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

        Just don't look too closely at the state of bridges in the US. https://www.archpaper.com/2018/08/bridge-maintenance-us/

    2. Rich 2 Silver badge

      Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

      It does rather suggest a lack of maintenance is to blame.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

      - it is built and owned by the US government

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

        It is run by the University of Central Florida.

        Lots of budget cuts there over the last couple decades ... except in the salaries of the brass, of course.

        1. Cynical Pie

          Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

          And probably a budget increase for their College Football team given their recent improvement

    4. Killing Time

      Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

      Steel cables under tension in a tropical environment for fifty seven years? It's amazing engineering they lasted so long.

      1. John Jennings Silver badge

        Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

        On boats, shrouds (the wires holding the mast up) in steel are only insurable for around 10 years (out of tropical climates). they are much finer, and usually now made from Stainless (stronger, and corrosion resistant). 1960's and r older 19th/20th C rigging was traditional steel, varnished regularly with Stockholm tar and linseed oil to protect it against rust.

        Point is, we know how steel wire reacts under stress for extended periods. Its shocking to require '3 engineering companies' to assess this for months before coming to a bloody obvious conclusion...

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

          And since Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean it stands to reason the telescope cables were exposed to a LOT of salt spray.

          From the article: An official investigation into what caused the cables to break away was launched in August,

          I can already tell you what did it: chloride embrittlement and corrosion in general, combined with cyclic stress fatigue with continuous tensile stress. *SNAP*

          Certain kinds of stainless steel are affected by chloride embrittlement, and though you may not see corrosion, you might STILL see pitting on the metal, and with constant tensile stress it causes microfractures into which the chlorides (from salty air and hurricanes and stuff like that) embrittle it (if I remember correctly). This is also somewhat the case for copper conductors and "just plain steel". Salty air is bad for them, yeah.

          You would generally need to paint and/or coat all cables with some kind of anti-corrosion paint (or other coating) that typically has chromates or some similar material in it, and possibly use sacrificial anodes [if even possible] to limit galvanic corrosion. As far as chloride stress corrosion goes, you might not be able to stop it if the material is susceptible.

          Also 'work hardening' due to cyclic stresses can also result in cracking and even total failure. 50-something years of hanging there through hurricanes might explain that, yeah. If you bend soft metal back/forth enough times, it cracks and breaks. Same idea.

          And when a stress crack forms, the physical properties of it (along with salty air) form corrosion that just makes it worse.

          1. Man inna barrel Bronze badge

            Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

            There is such a thing as corrosion fracture. This is where corrosion causes pits in the metal surface, and those defects form the focal points of cracks. This then reduces the metal fatigue rating of the structure. I imagine that the supporting cables for the telescope are subject to considerable varying forces, due to the effects of wind. The rust retarding products I have looked into, such as grease, have a limited lifetime. The product I worked on only needed three year's working life, and a single application of rust retarding grease provided that.

            If the cables are stainless steel, then maybe corrosion is not the problem. It could just be metal fatigue.

          2. JCitizen
            Angel

            Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

            Yeah, it's like...Doh!

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

            "I can already tell you what did it: chloride embrittlement and corrosion in general, combined with cyclic stress fatigue with continuous tensile stress. *SNAP*"

            Yup. Here in North we've had, not one but two swimming hall roof collapses in last 10 years. Neither of those was more than 20 years old.

            The steel beams& cables were sturdy enough to stand snow on the roof when new, but they weren't painted well/at all so rust hit and that eats the strength in single years: Large swimming pools produce a lot of chlorides.

            Then comes a winter and 10 inches of wet snow on the roof: *SNAP* says a cable and whole thing collapses like a house of cards.

        2. Man inna barrel Bronze badge

          Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

          There is a possibility that the management in charge of maintaining the structure were hoping to find an engineering company that gave the "right" answer, which would mean not spending any money. So they asked one company after another.

          I find that when manglement types ask a question, and you do not give the "right" answer, they will ask the same question again, but phrased differently, and keep doing this, in the hope that you eventually change your mind. This is of course how incompetent and dishonest firms are awarded contracts, rather than competent and trustworthy firms.

          1. Jeffrey Nonken

            Re: Lack of long term investment in decaying infrastructure?

            "...[if] you do not give the "right" answer, they will ask the same question again, but phrased differently, and keep doing this, in the hope that you eventually change your mind."

            Oh, I thought it was just retail customers who did that.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: tp

      Steel, not bog roll.

      HTH

    2. genghis_uk Silver badge

      Re: tp

      ...For your bunghole??

      Cornholio, is that you?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: tp

        Are you threatening me?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: tp

          Hard to say. Which of the myriad nameless, faceless AC blobs of grey goo are you?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: tp

            He's not AC, I am!

            IMPOSTER!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: tp

              - Certainly, we're all individual (AC), after all!

              - Well, I'm not...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: tp

                I'm AC! And so's my wife!

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: tp

                  <sing> Always look on the bright side (of anonymositiy)... *whistle*

            2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
              Alien

              Re: tp

              I am the one true AC.

  3. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Frayed knot

    The Forth Road bridge suffered from fraying cables until it had to be closed to heavy traffic. The weight and amount of heavy goods vehicles hadn't been anticipated when it was built in 1964.

    Likewise when the Arecibo Observatory was built in 1960 the engineers couldn't have anticipated the massive fast radio bursts it now has to cope with.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Frayed knot

      It can operate in radar mode - so if they sent out more radio bursts that would presumably reduce the load ?

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Frayed knot

        They should reconfigure it to work in the optical frequency range.

        Y'know, so that it would be dealing with light signals.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Frayed knot

          At least we'd be safe from space ants.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Frayed knot

            >At least we'd be safe from space ants.

            But the swarms of space moths

            1. Tom 7 Silver badge

              Re: Frayed knot

              What do you think the sun is for?

          2. David 132 Silver badge

            Re: Frayed knot

            Space ants.

            Spants.

  4. oiseau Silver badge
    WTF?

    Why it occurred?

    "... working vigorously to understand why this industrial failure occurred."

    Why?

    Really don't know?

    In August last year I noted that due to the lack of federal aid, a great deal of Puerto Rico's basic infrastructure was still in ruins after hurricanes Irma and María (both in 09/2017) devastated the island, all made worse by an earthquake in January of this year.

    The lack of basic federal aid in the wake of two important hurricanes (two weeks apart) undoubtedly affected not only Arecibo's maintenance schedules but also its funding, if any at that point in The Orange Asshole's™ tenure as occupant of the White House.

    Really no need to be asking why, it's quite obvious.

    Unfortunately, I don't see Arecibo getting any help before January 20th. 2021, so who knows if it will survive 2020.

    O.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: "so who knows if it will survive 2020."

      Leading to 2020's parting shot: In a dystopian version of the New Year's Eve Big (crystal) Apple drop in New York City, the whole antenna assembly crashes into the dish exactly at the stroke of midnight (US EST) -- starting 2021 with a BANG!

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: "so who knows if it will survive 2020."

        That's not funny. At all.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Why it occurred?

      Remember "no infrastructure spend without representation" - that was the whole point of the treasonous rebellion in the first place

    3. HurdImpropriety

      Re: Why it occurred?

      I knew some mommas-basement-dwelling-dweeb would get all TDS and blame someone we know and love.

    4. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

      Re: Why it occurred?

      I'm no fan of nutjob Trump, but unfortunately this is not unusual and probably can't be blamed on him, see my other post.

      Effectively, at least for the radio astronomy sites, NSF sites get lavish initial fundings, it's state of the art and there's plenty of spare parts. But after that, in business terms they effectively get funding for opex (operating expenditures) that cover operations and they did good inspection and maintenance; but near-zero capex (capital expenditures) so if anything out-of-the-ordinary needed repair, no money to do it; no money for spares, so (even with them doing board-level repair to repair lightning-blasted components, blown caps, etc. to preserve spares) they were down to 1-2 spares for some boards and such (not per-site, total among about a dozen sites). The NRAO site I've been to, it was installed in 1985, and it's state-of-the-art 1985-era equipment, so it's simply wearing out.

      1. nijam Silver badge

        Re: Why it occurred?

        > near-zero capex (capital expenditures) so if anything out-of-the-ordinary needed repair, no money to do it; no money for spares

        In any normal accounting regime, maintenance and repairs (including cost of replacement components) is not capital expenditure.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why it occurred?

          "In any normal accounting regime, maintenance and repairs (including cost of replacement components) is not capital expenditure."

          What?

          Repairing anything is an investment, i.e. capital expenditure. Spare parts definitely are.

          Possibly applies only to government accounting though, but equipment is assumed to last for ever and never need spare parts. If you need either it's an investment to "aging equipment", i.e. throwing money away, and in general not allowed.

  5. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
    Go

    Send for Jodie Foster

    I'm sure she would be happy to lend a hand.

    Second choice should be Pierce Brosnan.

    </snarky>

    I hope they do get it fixed though.

    1. Little Mouse Silver badge

      Re: Send for Jodie Foster

      Heh - I'd rather send Sean Bean.

      1. johnfbw

        Re: Send for Jodie Foster

        Sean Bean has a lot to gain from it not falling!

      2. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Send for Jodie Foster

        For England, James?

      3. Jonathon Desmond

        Re: Send for Jodie Foster

        Sending Sean Bean all but guarantees the platform will fall onto the dish at the precise moment he is underneath looking up.

      4. quartzz

        Re: Send for Jodie Foster

        or a Dr

        but, Dr Who?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Send for Jodie Foster

      Surely they need the cable guy?

  6. oiseau Silver badge

    I hope they do get it fixed though.

    So do I.

    Otherwise it will be yet another fuck-up to add to The Orange Asshole's™ "legacy".

    O.

    1. Chronos

      Arsenoise is lacking in so many ways, yet I doubt he even knows Arecibo exists. For one thing, he'd have to understand that the word "telescope" doesn't necessarily mean a long tube with lenses in it, parrot, cutlass and eyepatch optional...

      Neglect, pure and simple. Any competent metallurgist will take one glance at that picture and declare expansion and friction assisted metal fatigue in a nanosecond¹. This is a compound failure, recognised with the benefit of hindsight, to allocate resources over more than half a century. Hanlon's Razor applies.

      ¹ The various wires in those cables expand and contract at different rates as they heat and cool by layers. It's not much movement but, given 57 years, it all adds up. At this point, replacement is needed as the visible effects mean the invisible damage is already past the point of no return.

  7. Dante Alighieri
    Holmes

    Emergency measures?

    Some information on any emergency action - additional wires, ropes whatever would be nice - and ropes may be a real thing

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Emergency measures?

      Agreed. I'd imagine the uncertanty limits mitigation efforts (that's a scary amount of weight that could let loose at any moment)

      I'm picturing energency cribbing under the tower. You might be fine just offloading a portion of the weight for a while. You'd have to loose part of the reflector dish to make room for cribbing, but you're probably much better off with a controlled removal of the middle vs an uncontrolled crash.

    2. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: Emergency measures?

      Adding or replacing any cables looks problematic as there's no place to attach them apart from on the existing towers and apparently no spare attachment points, but the real killer is that it looks to be very difficult to do anything without damaging the main dish reflector: drop anything and another gash is made. Putting up netting strong enough to protect the dish risks causing major damage and may well require making holes in the dish for supporting the protective structure.

      IOW, does the main mirror need to be removed while the cables supporting the stuff at the prime focus are replaced?

      I am surprised that there's apparently nothing on t'net that describes the construction sequence of the Arecibo Radio Telescope, i.e. that says whether the main mirror was present while, the stuff at the focus was being hung up there or whether it was put in last.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Emergency measures?

        "I am surprised that there's apparently nothing on t'net that describes the construction sequence of the Arecibo Radio Telescope"

        This might help: https://www.naic.edu/ao/photos ... takes a while to load, but it has some good pictures that might help people visualize the scale of this thing. It is not a toy. Scroll down to see B&W pics of it being built.

        For the lazy, clicky-clicky.

        1. PhilipN Silver badge

          Re: Emergency measures?

          A very good collage.

        2. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: Emergency measures?

          This is worth looking at.

          http://astrorhysy.blogspot.com/2013/06/modelling-arecibo-observatory.html

          The guy worked there and wants to make a model of it, so some details.

        3. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

          Re: Emergency measures?

          Thanks for posting that link - really good stuff, and contains the only photo I've seen of the triangle truss assembled on the ground before being hung from the towers..

  8. ee_cc
    WTF?

    > An official investigation into what caused the cables to break away was launched in August, and the observatory has been closed since. Three engineering firms have been hired to probe the structure, and a socket holding a auxiliary cable was shipped off to NASA's Kennedy Space Center for forensic analysis

    Neglect?

  9. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Very difficult to repair

    Much of the construction was done in mid air before the reflector below was finished. There does not appear to be any method of safely lowering or supporting the overhead structure as it stands. If the cables can not be replaced in situ then the only other option that I could see would be to dismantle the overhead structure lowering the individual pieces to the ground then finally lower the triangle to the ground then replace all the cables then raise it again and rebuild the overhead structure and repair the reflector surface - Arecibo would be out of action for years if this was done.

    The people doing the dismantling would also deserve hazard pay - if one of the three main cables fails then the structure will plummet to the ground.

  10. KarMann Silver badge
    Alert

    Outside the box?

    I'd be quite shocked if it hadn't been considered & dismissed for whatever reasons*, but, instead of the suggestions of ways to reinforce the remaining cables and such, what about ripping out as much of it as possible to lighten the load they still have to support? It could at least be done promptly, maybe just in time, without having to engineer & produce whatever longer-term solution might allow it to carry the full load again, if it's doable at all.

    * Two that come to mind right away:

    They can't safely go out to access its contents and remove them.

    No significant part of its mass is removable over the catwalks or with available cranes that are tall enough.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: Outside the box?

      The way to safely access it would be to run new cables over the existing installation and run gantries along those new cables to access various parts from above.

  11. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Other dishes

    I have been to one of the NRAO radio observatory sites; it was installed in the mid-1980s. The dish has a single railroad rail style thing at the base on a several foot tall concrete "wall", with several wheels running on it, these wheels are then powered to rotate the dish. Last I was there, they'd been reporting for several years that the cement under some sections of the rail had crumbled away, the railroad rail was sagging 1/2" to 1" from the weight when the wheel was over these sections, at which point of course the electric motor was drawing extra current, extra wear on the motor bearings, and so on. No budget even for just slapping some concrete under this thing.

    They were running the original 1985-era hardware (due to lack of funds for upgrades), in some cases down to having 1 or 2 spares left for some of the equipment that gets damaged by lightning strikes and such (1-2 total among about a dozen sites, not 1-2 per site...) To maintain the spares inventory, my friend (who is now retired) was regularly giving his voltmeter a real workout and replacing components with his soldering iron. They were still running some VMEbus hardware (with the problem being that Motorola sold their spares supply some years back, and the purchasers marked up the remaining equipment by about 10-fold, so now far out of budget for them to buy any remaining bits of this they needed), there was still a PC/XT up there running as a replacement for a dead VT-100. Last I know, they were still running everything to reel-to-reel tape and mailing it to the central office; to their misfortune, they replaced the tape-based functionality with a stack of IBM Deskstars, it turned out it was when all those faulty Deskstars came out; no budget to buy a second set of drives, so they went back to reel-to-reel tape.

    Last time I was there (a few years back) I was like "Hey, you got some new hardware!"... nope, it was not for the dish, it was a USGS-run environmental sensor that got their in-building computer upgraded.

    It's unfortunate, because these NRAO-sites truly are state-of-the-art (in so far as the newer equipment would not have improved RF performance over what they had) but NSF has the most shoestring of budgets for these places, in normal business terms they have just enough to cover opex (operating expenses) but zero for capex (capital expenses, i.e. maintenance and replacing hardware that's worn out.)

  12. IfYouInsist

    Balloon?

    What about sending a balloon or an airship above the central structure and hooking it up to provide some lift? Yeah, I suppose the numbers don't check out. A quick search on the net puts the lifting capacity of hydrogen at 68 pounds per 1000 cu. ft. with helium even lower (can't be arsed to convert that to proper units). So offloading the cables in any meaningful way would require something much larger than the largest airships ever built.

    Alternatively, repair crews could be lowered from an airship to work on the platform without the risk of falling down with it (well, a lower risk in any case). A helicopter could be used for that scenario as well, being somewhat less sensitive to windy conditions... but I wouldn't want to be on that repair crew in any case.

    One other idea involving bags of air is to set up an airbag under the platform so that the damage to the mirror is at least somewhat reduced once the platform does fall. I'm afraid, though, that the mirror is far too sensitive even for that.

    1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Balloon? - WIND

      A balloon large enough to carry a significant part of the 900 ton load would exert a fatal sideways load on the structure with even a 10mph wind. As Puerto Rico often gets strong winds this idea is impractical.

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: Balloon? - WIND

        900,000m3, works out to be a ~120m diameter balloon, quite big. Which raises the question, maybe you could just (...) stuff an airbag beneath it instead?

        (The cables are quite horizontal, which means they're carrying quite a few times the weight of the observatory, I guess somebody has thought about the tradeoff. Maybe it's jerk versus relatively static force that's part of the issue?)

    2. KarMann Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Balloon?

      …hydrogen at 68 pounds per 1000 cu. ft. with helium even lower (can't be arsed to convert that to proper units).
      Let me help, then:

      1.503 MilliJub per Football

      1 Adult Badger per 15,254 Grapefruits

      3.06 Great White Sharks per Olympic-sized swimming pool

  13. steviebuk Silver badge

    Every time

    I see this I just think of Battlefield 4

  14. Chris Coles

    Rebuild the entire structure is the best solution

    If all anyone does is to set out to try and fix the existing structures and cables, then the first thing to accept is that the entire structure must be at end of life; that every part of the support structure will have to be replaced new. As another has already mentioned, that would necessitate a close down of some years. Turning to the 900 ton platform, would it not be a better solution to completely re-design the structure using light weight composites, and then re-design the support structures to account for the new loading? It may well be that the re-design would end up the cheaper solution; as well as creating a longer life for the resulting structure. Much better to start again with a clean sheet of paper and work out a design that will last to the end of the century.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Rebuild the entire structure is the best solution

      > Rebuild the entire structure is the best solution

      Obviously, especially since repairing it would most likely require tearing it partly down (remove the dish so you can lower the suspended structure and change the cables and whatever else has rotted away).

      The remaining question is, is there a budget to (re)build the Arecibo Observatory, especially with all the Covid-19 expenses, given it's not a status symbol anymore? Yes, it's needed for science (and planetary safety), but we'd had noticed if Science was a priority.

      1. hoola Silver badge

        Re: Rebuild the entire structure is the best solution

        Given the obscene profits being squirreled away by the big US tech giant they could do something philanthropic and just get some loose change out of their pockets.

        The likes of Google, Apple, Facebook & Amazon would not even notice the amount to rebuild it with 21st century tech.

        One can but dream.........

        1. ThatOne Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Rebuild the entire structure is the best solution

          > One can but dream.........

          One can, but meanwhile back in reality their propaganda teams will explain that observatories are the reason a honest, hard-working bloke can't have a cool beer after work, and that all those stoopid observatories should be banned, being an useless commie hippie plot to waste taxpayers' money.

          Yes, sounds like I'm laying it on quite thick, but I've actually already heard this, in very much those terms. And indeed, what use are observatories to somebody who would lose an argument to a potted plant and the only star constellation he's heard of are the Kardashians?...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rebuild the entire structure is the best solution

          The new Amazon Dish to open up the Alpha Centauri market...

          Might be a while before they can manage 2-day shipping though.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Move it to Cheshire.

    Mebe ask the Lovell team what they think should be done.

    Jokez. Obvz.

  16. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
    Coat

    I thought it blew up in 1995

  17. WONKY KLERKY

    INTO THE SENSIBLE COMMENTS POT PLEASE.

    ref Register Report - I note:

    1: 'Three engineering firms have been hired to probe the structure,'

    COMMENT:

    Therein lies a finger pointing escape route for all if they're not kept separated - and that will be very difficult!

    +

    2: 'and a socket holding a auxiliary cable was shipped off to NASA's Kennedy Space Center for assessment '

    COMMENT

    Q: Is that where (ie. retaining anchor / socket cable end area) the cables are failing ?

    If that be first area/prevalent area where cable failure found,

    I do venture, without the facility of recourse to dtld as built dwgs:

    .1: Failure be due to lack of free movement for articulation of cable at/near anchor point.

    Lack of ability to move at socket/anchor would impose much bending stress at times on cable immediately adjacent anchor point.

    .2: Single gripping to looped cables around eyes/posts gives over concentration of force

  18. EnviableOne Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Goldeneye - I found the secret

    Surely a case can be made for some of the profits from goldeneye to go towards its repair.....

    for the scene post the discovery of the dish -------->

  19. khisanth

    I think the fact nobody has mentioned replacing the snapped cable nor replacing the remaining cables is very telling! Engineering firms are going to check or probe the cables, then what?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "... nobody has mentioned replacing the snapped cable nor replacing the remaining cables is very telling!"

      It was mentioned, only not directly. The problem is that the central structure, 900 tons of steel, can fall at any moment.

      It's really hard to attach cables from one end. Also, you'd need money to do that and they don't have any.

      Same reason for replacing: You'd need to remove old one first and you can't do that, it will drop immediately.

  20. Jason Bloomberg

    Farewell Arecibo

    It doesn't look to me that there's any way to resolve the current situation other than to let her fall.

    And let's hope that serves as a wake-up call for what else we might lose when we don't invest in maintenance and preserving what we haver. But I fear it won't.

  21. Pretty Ricky

    All this talk about what happened and not a word about... Hmmm... FIXING IT?

  22. David Roberts

    Replace in space?

    Would it be more effective (not cheaper) to build the next generation in space?

    Might have a better chance of funding because sexy.

  23. JCitizen
    Alien

    What caused it???

    We didn't do it - I swear! No! There is no invading force to look at! Certainly not! Our scout units have never seen the telescope! Honest!

  24. Dwarf Silver badge

    Now reportedly being decommissioned

    According to a new BBC Article

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This can be solved with code

    Just need to create some 3D arrays of strings

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