Known worldwide as the battleground for James Bond and Alec Trevelyan in GOLDENEYE's chilling climax, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will be decomissioned and demolished in the next couple of months, The Verge reports.
Established in 1963, the observatory's primary function is to help scientists listen for distant radio waves and peer into deep space, allowing them to find objects that could pose a threat for the planet along with the possible existence of extra-terrestial life.
Unfortunately, the famous platform has been suffering significant damages since Hurricane María passed over Puerto Rico in 2017, along with the damage of two main cables between August and November of this year. "All of the main cables, all of which are decades old and have been through storms, earthquakes, and constant heavy moisture, may no longer be capable of supporting the load that they were designed [to carry],” Ashley Zauderer, program director of the National Science Foundation, which manages the observatory, told the site.
Experts consulted by the NSF observed that other cables holding the structure may fail soon and the 900-ton platform may crash down on the bottom dish, or that the three 300-feet-tall surrounding towers holding those cables could topple over in any direction, hitting nearby buildings or even the visitor's centre. “Engineers cannot tell us the safety margin of the structure, but they have advised us that the structure will collapse in the near future on its own", said Ralph Gaume, director of the NSF's division of astronomical sciences.
The Arecibo Observatory has been featured not only in the 1995 James Bond film but also on its Nintendo 64 video game adaptation. The spin-off title GOLDENEYE: ROGUE AGENT also features it as a multiplayer map while a similar structure -turned into a solar plant- has been present in the Nintendo Wii version of GOLDENEYE 007. Robert Zemeckis' 1997 sci-fi film CONTACT, starring Jodie Foster, has also featured scenes shot at the Observatory.