The radio telescope in Puerto Rico that you’ve seen over the years in movies and TV shows was scheduled for demolition. It started to fail and fall apart before that happened. From James Bond to Contact, the Arecibo Observatory was also responsible for mapping Mercury and Venus, discovering Mercury’s rotation was faster, but also more erratic. It also discovered some of the first planets outside our solar system, and contributed towards a Nobel Prize by contributing to discoveries on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

It is an ignoble end for the facility, which has served the scientific community for nearly 60 years, notching up discoveries as well as playing a vital role in the recovery of the SOHO mission at the end of the last century.