The future of one of the world's largest single-dish radio telescopes is in question after the U.S. National Science Foundation announced Wednesday it was accepting proposals from those interested in assuming operations at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
The announcement comes as the federal agency runs out of funds to support the observatory, which features a 1,000-foot-wide (305-meter-wide) dish used in part to search for gravitational waves and track asteroids that might be on a collision course with Earth.
Officials with the foundation stressed in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press that the agency prefers that the observatory remain open with the help of collaborators that would provide a funding boost.
"Our (community reviews) have recognized that Arecibo does great science and will continue to do great science," said Ralph Gaume, acting division director for the foundation's Division of Astronomical Sciences.
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