The National Science Foundation has made it official: It will not rebuild the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, though it will fund the facility as an education center instead.
Now, the National Science Foundation (NSF), which owns the site, has determined that despite scientists’ pleas, Arecibo Observatory won’t be getting any new telescope to replace the loss. The new education project also doesn’t include any long-term funding for the instruments that remain operational at the observatory, including a 40-foot (12 m) radio dish and a lidar system.
…Instead, the NSF intends to build on the observatory’s legacy as a key educational institution in Puerto Rico by transforming the site into a hub for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, due to open in 2023, according to a statement. The observatory is also home to the Ángel Ramos Foundation Science and Visitor Center, which opened in 1997.
It seems unclear how this education center will function. Will it be a school that students attend? Or simply a type of museum with a visitors center? This new plan appears to call for about $2 million per year in funding, which does not appear enough to do much of anything, other than to keep the lights on and hang some pretty astronomy pictures on the walls.
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