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A proposal to rebuild Arecibo as a better radio telescope

Even as the National Science Foundation (NSF) proceeds with the disassembly of the destroyed Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, some astronomers are proposing that a new radio telescope be built in its place, with a new design that will not require the instrument platform floating above a single dish.

Here’s the idea as outlined in a white paper circulated by Roshi and his colleagues: The Next Generation Arecibo Telescope would pack hundreds, maybe even more than 1,000 smaller radio dishes into the same space now occupied by the single 305-meter dish. Those smaller antennas would combine forces to act like a single larger telescope (no suspended instrument platform required).

Ideally, those dishes would be on a single, tiltable platform to access more of the sky from the Arecibo site; it’s possible multiple platforms could do the same.

The revamped telescope would have twice the sky coverage of the legacy dish, 500 times the field of view in individual images, at least double the sensitivity, and five times the radar power.

The cost for this new radio telescope is presently estimated to be about half a billion. Considering that the NSF didn’t have the money to operate the old Arecibo telescope, which was why it wasn’t properly maintained and collapsed, I doubt it has the cash to build this replacement. Congress, which likes printing money it doesn’t have, might step in and fund it, but if so that will only add to the national debt that is certainly going to cause the bankruptcy of the nation at some point in the future, a point that is getting closer and closer with each new trillion that Congress nonchalantly spends, on almost a monthly schedule.

Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

4 comments

  • Jeff Wright

    This is a wiser investment certainly-for asteroid scans. I don’t trust it to NSF. This thing-if it gets money-needs to be a Space Force asset…with uniforms in charge and no lay-abouts.

  • Chamist

    If the new telescope is going to be on a tilting platform and consist of 1000 small dishes, then why does it have to be in Puerto Rico?
    Why couldn’t it be anywhere?
    Certainly, there are cheaper places to build that Puerto Rico.

  • Jeff Wright

    I like Meteor Crater-dry as plane boneyards.

  • Max

    As good as this compromise sounds, one large dish in orbit would be capable of so much more.
    Factors of magnitude on capabilities, availability, resolution, ect.
    No more hurricanes and power blackouts to worry about. It can even be made as part of a larger science structure that is permanently maned.
    Although, even this structure would be temporary as larger dishes are installed in the northern and southern hemisphere of the Radio quiet far side of the moon were nowhere in our solar system that cannot be monitored continuously. (except from behind the sun which we can move the old orbital dish into position ahead of earths orbit, like a Trojan, as an early warning surveyor so there are no Blindspot’s)

    Perhaps the infrared telescope will be at last placed in Earth’s Lagrange shadow by then. Construction, maintenance and cooling system refueling could be easily done from a permanent lunar base.
    Leave Arecibo as a national Park and tourist trap. The regressive Progressive would find a way to destroy any technology constructed there anyway. Just look at what is still occurring blocking the telescope in Hawaii…
    War is peace, slavery is freedom, and I really like the green new deal where we must destroy the earth to save it…

    Let’s build in space where regressive rocks and arrows can’t reach us. Where real science must be followed because it will determine life and death.
    We must get away from fearful ignorant fanatics making decisions by the consensus of committee. (and whomever FUNDED that committee)

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