Drone Footage Shows Collapse of Observatory

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  • The famed Arecibo Observatory, featured in the films Contact and Goldeneye, gave way earlier this week after its support cables snapped.
  • The National Science Foundation, which ran the Puerto Rico-based radio observatory, released dramatic drone footage of the collapse.
  • The telescope operated for almost 60 years, scanning the skies for asteroids and alien signals and contributing to our understanding of the universe.

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released tragic drone footage of the collapse of the famed Arecibo Observatory, which fell this week after 57 years of service.

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    The observatory—made famous by films like Contact and the James Bond flick Goldeneye—probed the distant reaches of the universe for signs of extraterrestrial life, scanned the skies for fast radio bursts, and tracked marauding asteroids zipping through our solar system. It’s a devastating loss for research in Puerto Rico, the scientific community, and even humanity as a whole.

    The footage, which you can watch above, shows the instant when the telescope’s support cables snapped, sending the 900-ton instrument platform tumbling into the 1,000-foot-wide dish below. The tops of the three towers that supported the platform also gave way, pushing a flood of debris down across the dish and several adjacent facilities. Fortunately, no one was injured.

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    The observatory, nestled in the verdant hills of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, was managed jointly by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of Central Florida. It opened in 1963 and has made significant contributions in the years since. In addition to the 1,000-foot dish, the observatory is home to a 12-foot radio telescope, a LIDAR facility, and an educational center.

    “We knew this was a possibility, but it is still heartbreaking to see,” Elizabeth Klonoff, UCF’s vice president for research, said in a December 1 statement. “Safety of personnel is our number one priority. We already have engineers on site to help assess the damage and determine the stability and safety of the remaining structure. We will continue to work with the NSF and other stakeholders to find ways to support the science mission at Arecibo.”

    on august 10, an auxiliary cable on the arecibo observatory snapped, resulting in significant damage to the 1,000 foot wide telescope dish below
    On August 10, an auxiliary cable on the Arecibo Observatory snapped, resulting in significant damage to the 1,000-foot-wide telescope dish below.

    University of Central Florida

    The first sign of trouble came in August, when an auxiliary cable—one of 18 that held the instrument platform in place—snapped and tore through the dish 500 feet below, resulting in significant damage. An assessment at the time revealed that as long as the remaining cables were intact, the dish could be fixed. The Arecibo staff promptly ordered a replacement cable and began rehabbing the facility.

    But then, on November 19, NSF announced that yet another cable had ruptured weeks earlier and

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    See unreal drone footage of Arecibo Observatory’s catastrophic collapse

    The National Science Foundation on Thursday released remarkable video footage capturing the moment the Arecibo Observatory’s 900-ton platform fell into the 1,000-foot wide dish below. A drone happened to be performing an up-close investigation of the cables that still held the platform above the dish as the cables snapped on Tuesday.

    The video of the massive radio telescope shows both the drone footage and the view from a camera in the visitor center that shows the platform falling into the dish just above the jungle floor in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Two massive chunks of the cement towers that the cables were attached to can also be seen falling.

    Two of the cables had previously broken, one in August and another in November, destabilizing the telescope.

    A drone was inspecting the site atop one of the towers, where one of the previous cable breaks had occurred, when the rest suddenly snapped. 

    The NSF had recently decided to decommission the telescope after a second cable broke in November.

    “It was a dangerous situation,” John Abruzzo, who is with an engineering consulting firm called Thornton Tomasetti that was contracted by the NSF, told reporters Thursday. “Those cables could have failed at any time.” 

    On Tuesday, they did.

    The NSF reports that no one was injured in the collapse and that the visitor center sustained only minor damage.

    The telescope, which functioned for nearly 60 years, was the backdrop to a dramatic fight scene in the 1995 James Bond movie GoldenEye with Pierce Brosnan. It also appeared in the 1997 Jodie Foster movie Contact. But Arecibo’s true legacy lies in the many scientific discoveries it made possible. It explored pulsars, expanded our knowledge of Mercury, spotted exoplanets and found fast radio bursts.  

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    Drone footage shows the shocking collapse of the Arecibo Observatory

    Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released shocking footage of the collapse of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The video, captured on December 1st, shows the moment when support cables snapped, causing the massive 900-ton structure suspended above Arecibo to fall onto the observatory’s iconic 1,000-foot-wide dish.

    The videos of the collapse were captured by a camera located in Arecibo’s Operations Control Center, as well as from a drone located above the platform at the time of collapse. The operator of the drone was able to adjust the drone camera once the platform started to fall and capture the moment of impact. NSF, which oversees Arecibo, had been doing hourly monitoring of the observatory with drones, ever since engineers warned that the structure was on the verge of collapsing in November. “I think we were just lucky and the drone operator was very adept to see what was happening and be able to turn the camera,” Ashley Zauderer, the NSF program manager for Arecibo Observatory, said during a press conference.

    The footage highlights the moment when multiple cables snapped, causing the platform to swing outward and hit the side of the dish. The collapse also brought down the tops of the three support towers surrounding Arecibo, where the cables had been connected to keep the platform in the air. “The cables that go from the top of Tower 4 to the platform — they’re very faint in the camera view but they’re there,” said John Abruzzo, a contractor at engineering consulting firm Thornton Tomasetti, hired by the University of Central Florida. “And so it’s those cables that fail near the tower top first, and then once those fail, the platform then loses stability and starts to come down,” Abruzzo said, describing the first video from the control center.

    The collapse of Arecibo didn’t come as a surprise. Following the failure of two support cables in both August and November, engineers had concluded that there was no safe way to repair Arecibo and that the platform could fall onto the dish at any moment. NSF hoped to do a controlled demolition of the telescope before that happened, but the collapse occurred before any kind of action could take place.

    Now NSF is trying to figure out a path forward, which mostly revolves around figuring out how to clean up Arecibo in a safe manner. Engineers need to do a full environmental assessment of the area and figure out how stable the remaining structures are.

    Replacing Arecibo would be a much longer process, involving decisions from lawmakers. “With regards to replacement, NSF has a very well defined process for funding and constructing large scale infrastructure — including telescopes,” Ralph Gaume, director of NSF’s division of astronomical sciences, said. “It’s a multi-year process that involves congressional appropriations, and the assessment and needs of the scientific community. So it’s very early

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    Drone Video Shows Dramatic Moment of Arecibo Collapse

    Video of the recent collapse at the Arecibo Observatory, taken from two different perspectives, show the dramatic moment when a main cable failed, causing the 900-ton instrument platform to fall onto the large radio dish below.



    a tree with a mountain in the background: Aerial footage showing the damaged dish at the Arecibo Observatory and three support towers.


    © Image: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images (Getty Images)
    Aerial footage showing the damaged dish at the Arecibo Observatory and three support towers.

    The first of the two videos was taken from the Arecibo Observatory control room, where radio astronomers normally do their work. The camera was recently installed in this location to capture a collapse should it happen, Ashley Zauderer, program director for Arecibo Observatory at the National Science Foundation, told reporters today.

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    As the video shows, the platform did not fall straight down. It was more of a swinging action, as a main cable snapped from one of the three support towers. The video also shows the tops of the towers breaking off, some of which measure over 60 feet in length, according to John Abruzzo, managing principal of Thornton Tomasetti, an engineering firm brought in to assess the situation following the recent failure of two cables at the famous facility.

    The collapse involved some “very violent and unpredicted behavior,” said Zauderer.

    The second video is just as remarkable, as it was captured by an aerial drone. It just so happened that the drone was being used to inspect the top of Tower 4 when one of three remaining main cables snapped. Looking at the video, you can see three cables running parallel to one another. A fourth cable should’ve been there, but it failed earlier this month (you can actually see the frayed remains of the cable at top). Each cable consists of 170 wires, said Abruzzo. The middle of the three remaining cables is the one that failed, triggering a reaction that caused the entire structure to collapse.

    Incredibly, the drone operator was able to turn the camera around to capture an aerial view of the carnage below. No one was hurt during this catastrophic failure, the exact cause of which is still being determined. Zauderer said all dangerous debris fell within previously designated restricted zones.

    Iconic Dish at Arecibo Observatory Has Collapsed

    On a positive note, the nearby visitor’s center did not sustain any serious damage. From here, the priority continues to be safety, mitigating environmental issues, and finding ways to support the staff at the facility and the people of Puerto Rico, said Zauderer. Built in 1963, the radio dish was recently slated for demolition, as repairs were deemed too dangerous.

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    Gorilla Netting Completes Construction of Massive Netted Drone Enclosure at University at Buffalo

    BUFFALO, N.Y., Nov. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — University at Buffalo consultants first approached Gorilla Netting in early 2019. For over a year, the team at Gorilla Netting worked with consultants and representatives of SUNY, University at Buffalo (UB), to design, engineer, and install a large netted drone enclosure system for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) testing and research.

    The result is a massive 24,000-square-foot research facility, dubbed SOAR (Structure for Outdoor Autonomy Research)—The nation’s third-largest outdoor, enclosure drone-testing facility.

    The netted drone enclosure is 200 feet long by 120 feet wide and 86 feet high, slightly more than half an acre. Gorilla Netting designed and built the netting system using staged steel poles and a little over 79,000-square-feet of 4″ knotted nylon netting. SOAR is located on the North Campus of University at Buffalo, adjacent to Crofts Hall.

    “The University at Buffalo is committed to addressing society’s most challenging issues. By creating a research complex dedicated to exploring the tremendous potential of uncrewed aerial vehicles, UB researchers, students, and our partners will advance cutting-edge solutions that can help global food security challenges, disaster response, and anti-terrorism,” says Kemper Lewis, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

    Because it is enclosed, and thus considered an indoor flight facility, researchers will not be subject to Federal Aviation Administration rules when testing UAVs. Researchers will use the facility to conduct research on:

    • Autonomous technology. This involves UAVs, as well self-driving vehicles, which the university tests in the area outside the complex.
    • Sensors and surveillance. This field has applications in agriculture, military, homeland security, law enforcement, wildfire monitoring, bridge and building inspections, and other areas.
    • Small parcel delivery and logistics. This includes studying using drones to deliver goods.
    • Drone fleets. UB researchers are exploring how drones can work together in emergency situations.

    The facility will also be a resource for undergraduate and graduate students who study robotics and computer vision. Additionally, it will benefit Western New York companies interested in using the complex to test UAV hardware.

    “Our plan is to leave the netting up year-round,” says Chase Murray, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering. “This will enable us to conduct tests and improve the performance of UAVs in the often-harsh winter weather conditions that we encounter.”

    (Source: UB builds massive outdoor drone testing facility – UB Now …. http://www.buffalo.edu/ubnow/stories/2020/11/drone-research.html)

    “Many private companies and universities across the country have benefited from Netted Drone Enclosure Systems, and other organizations are moving forward with innovative netting systems. Gorilla Netting was pleased to work with the University at Buffalo to provide them with a unique netting system. The finished product is sure to impress anyone who passes by and sees it.” says Dolvin Todd, President of Gorilla Netting LLC.

    Founded in 2017, Gorilla Netting quickly became a leader in the industry. Gorilla Netting specializes in sports and barrier netting applications such as golf range barrier netting, baseball netting, multi-sports complex netting, drone netting enclosures and cages for technology development

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    First Drone Goes Flying to the North Pole on a Climate Mission

    (Bloomberg) — Roberta Pirazzini set out an Arctic expedition to do something no one had ever tried before: fly a drone near the North Pole.



    a group of people riding skis on top of a snow covered mountain: The white surfaces of Arctic ice reflect solar radiation back into the atmosphere, while the ocean’s blue surfaces absorb it.


    © Photographer: Alex Morales/Bloomberg
    The white surfaces of Arctic ice reflect solar radiation back into the atmosphere, while the ocean’s blue surfaces absorb it.

    Sensors on the drone would assess sunlight reflected from the ice. This measurement, known as surface albedo, is key to understanding how much solar radiation is absorbed by the Earth and how much is reflected back into the atmosphere. It’s one of the scientific puzzles that can help predict how fast sea ice will melt.

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    But flying a drone over the planet’s northernmost reaches is no simple feat. Pirazzini and a colleague, Henna-Reetta Hannula, spent months learning to fly at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, where both are on staff as scientists. Technicians designed and built a sophisticated navigation system capable of handling extreme weather.

    The scientists and their drones then joined the largest Arctic expedition in history aboard the Polarstern, an icebreaker carrying dozens of researchers on a year-long mission. The pair had also brought along a smaller practice drone that could fly inside their tiny cabin, the only chance they’d have to keep their skills sharp in the weeks of sailing before finally stepping onto the ice.

    Right away, Pirazzini ran into the same problems that have beset Arctic explorers for two centuries: treacherous navigation conditions and technology that buckles in the deep cold.

    Drones and helicopters have trouble near the North Pole because global positioning satellites suffer small uncertainties at extreme northern latitudes. This creates mounting confusion for navigation the closer a pilot gets to the North Pole, and Pirazzini’s drones would be operating closer than any before.

    The navigation nightmare has claimed another drone earlier in the expedition. The drone took off from the ship, went in a completely uncontrolled direction and crashed. Pirazzini was terrified her albedo-measuring drone would fall victim next, and her fears were confirmed as soon as she stepped onto the ice. The navigation system on the main drone wasn’t working, meaning she and Hannula would need to manually calculate distances, direction, altitude and wind speed.

    “The freezing conditions were our main enemy, not only for the ice in the blade” of the drone’s rotors, “but in our fingers,” Pirazzini says, her voice cracking over a satellite phone during the Polarstern’s return voyage earlier this month. “You need very delicate, small motions to operate the drone,” she says. “When your hand is freezing you lose sensitivity, your fingers can’t control the features anymore.”

    Fog would turn into ice around the drone’s blades. Wind gusts stronger than eight meters per hour would ground the drone. Still, the two scientists managed to conduct 18 flights over three weeks. Albedo measurements captured by Pirazzini, 49, and Hannula, 33, will now be analyzed as part of multinational effort to understand how warming temperatures are affecting the Arctic—a scientific race against climate change itself.

    Earth’s northern icecap

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    Positive Results from Surface Exploration and Drone Magnetics Confirm Gold Targets on Mt. Jamie North

    Map 1: Location of Mt. Jamie North relative to nearby gold mines and drilling, on regional geology.

    Map 1: Location of Mt. Jamie North relative to nearby gold mines and drilling, on regional geology.
    Map 1: Location of Mt. Jamie North relative to nearby gold mines and drilling, on regional geology.
    Map 1: Location of Mt. Jamie North relative to nearby gold mines and drilling, on regional geology.

    Map 2: Compilation of magnetic map of 2nd Vertical Derivative, with interpretation.

    Map 2: Compilation of magnetic map of 2nd Vertical Derivative, with interpretation.
    Map 2: Compilation of magnetic map of 2nd Vertical Derivative, with interpretation.
    Map 2: Compilation of magnetic map of 2nd Vertical Derivative, with interpretation.

    TORONTO, Oct. 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Stone Gold Inc. (formerly CR Capital Corp.) (TSX-V / STG) (“Stone Gold” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce this exploration update from its recently optioned 445-hectare Mt. Jamie North Property (the “Property”). On June 25, 2020, the Company announced that exploration was commencing on Property with the hiring of Tim Twomey, P. Geo as consulting geologist. The initial program consisted of prospecting and sampling of the Property.

    Mr. Twomey, a renowned geoscientist, has more than 35 years of exploration, production and management expertise, with a major portion of his career in the Red Lake gold mining camp. Tim played a key role in the discovery, development and production of the High-Grade Zone at the Red Lake Gold Mine now owned by Evolution Mining Ltd. Tim has been and continues to be the go-to guy to review on the ground of many of the Red Lake exploration projects over his career.

    The Company has completed an initial field geological examination, including an outcrop and trench sampling program. Gold assay results are shown in the compilation map below. The highest assay was from a grab sample of a 10 cm wide quartz vein that returned 5.6 grams per tonne (gpt) gold, and appears to be within the same stratigraphic package as the neighbouring Mount Jamie and Rowan Mines, as shown in Map 1.

    A map accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/6b7f1cea-d75f-4b5c-a56e-a4dc569422c2

    A drone magnetic geophysical survey was completed, which covered the interpreted favourable west-northwest geological trends over the Property. This survey has outlined areas of magnetic folding, offsets and washout. These magnetic complexities have aided in ranking areas of follow-up (see compilation map below).

    A map accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/130552b1-662f-4967-8de4-328283b2247b

    A lithogeochemical sampling program is presently being conducted on the Property to investigate high priority targets, areas of magnetic interest and previous assay results.

    The west end of the Red Lake greenstone belt had been considered to be less prospective with the absence Balmer volcanics, however high-grade gold results from West Red Lake Gold Mines from the Rowan Property and Trillium Gold Mines on the Newman has demonstrated that the west end is highly prospective.

    Brian Howlett, President & CEO, stated, “We are very pleased with how our stepwise approach from property acquisition to data collection and targeting has proceeded and we expect that we will soon have enough vectoring information to be

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    Can drone ‘seeders’ revive burnt Aussie bushland? [Video]

    The World Wildlife Fund has come up with a creative way to regenerate the Australian bushland burnt during the country’s recent devastating wildlifes.

    The plan is to attach seeds of gum trees to specialized drones and drop them over remote areas on Australia’s east coast.

    If successful, they hope a revitalized forest could boost the numbers of koalas and other wildlife.

    WWF Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman

    “One of the new ways we’re doing this is using drones that can put large amounts of seed across landscapes and not only accelerate our ability to regenerate bushland, but also to reach inaccessible areas much easier.”

    Australia’s most recent bushfire season was one of its worst ever.

    The WWF estimates 3 billion animals were killed or displaced.

    It also believes 7 billion trees were burnt across 37 million hectares of Australia’s southeast – that’s equal to half the area of the UK.

    “The magnitude of the bushfire crisis requires us to respond at a scale that’s never been done before.”

    WWF Australia wants to raise $210 million U.S. over five years to fund the initiative and double koala numbers on the east coast.

    Some of the drones can plant 40,000 seeds a day and will help create corridors so wildlife can move across the landscape.

    Video Transcript

    The World Wildlife Fund has come up with a creative way to regenerate Australian bushland burnt during the country’s recent devastating wildfires. The plan is to attach seeds of gum trees to specialized drones and drop them over remote areas on Australia’s east coast. If successful, they hope a revitalized forest could boost the numbers of koalas and other wildlife.

    WWF Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.

    DERMOT O’GORMAN: One of the new ways we’re doing this is using drones that can put large amounts of seed across landscapes and not only accelerate our ability to regenerate bushland, but also be able to reach unaccessible areas much easier.

    Australia’s most recent bushfire season was one of its worst ever. The WWF estimates 3 billion animals were killed or displaced. It also believes that 7 billion trees were burnt across 37 million hectares of Australia’s southeast. That’s equal to half the area of the UK.

    DERMOT O’GORMAN: The magnitude of the bushfire crisis requires us to respond at a scale that’s never been done before.

    WWF Australia wants to raise $210 million US over five years to fund the initiative and double koala numbers on the east coast. Some of the drones can plant 40,000 seeds a day and will help create corridors so wildlife can move across the landscape.

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