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What Really Happened at the Arecibo Telescope?

Practical Engineering
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On the morning of December 1st, 2020, one of the most iconic astronomical instruments in the world collapsed. The Arecibo Telescope was not only one of the largest radio telescopes in the world, it was also a fascinating problem in structural engineering. Its loss was felt across the world. This video provides a quick lesson on radio telescopes, a summary of the failure, and some discussion about the engineering lessons learned in the wake of the event. I hope that eventually, they can replace the telescope with an instrument as futuristic and forward-looking as the Arecibo telescope was when first conceived. It was an ambitious and inspiring structure, and we sure will miss it.

Practical Engineering is a ELvids channel about infrastructure and the human-made world around us. It is hosted, written, and produced by Grady Hillhouse. We have new videos posted regularly, so please subscribe for updates. If you enjoyed the video, hit that ‘like’ button, give us a comment, or watch another of our videos!

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This is not engineering advice. Everything here is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Contact an engineer licensed to practice in your area if you need professional advice or services. All non-licensed clips used for fair use commentary, criticism, and educational purposes.

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Producer/Writer/Host: Grady Hillhouse
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20 Ιούλ 2021

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Practical Engineering
Practical Engineering Πριν 2 μήνες
🚧 When was the first time you heard of Arecibo? 👷 Check out my coverage of other engineering events: elvids.com/group/PLTZM4MrZKfW_kLNg2HZxzCBEF-2AuR_vP
Kevin Page
Kevin Page Πριν 10 ημέρες
I’m learning about it in my astronomy class, I couldn’t help but look deeper into it
Fighting Climax
Fighting Climax Πριν 28 ημέρες
I didn't feel anything when it collapsed.
Biggie Cheese
Biggie Cheese Πριν 28 ημέρες
Now!
Eetu The Reindeer
Eetu The Reindeer Πριν 29 ημέρες
The first time i heard of it when i was a kid playing Civilization III
Initforthemoney
Initforthemoney Πριν 4 ώρες
What really happened? Lack of maintenance. Not difficult.
Fiercesoulking
Fiercesoulking Πριν 4 ώρες
The problem is the structure was never designed with this much load . The load was added later with new instruments and all of this was old I mean with this cables on bridges they would have been replaces long ago but here the original cables are still in place here. The last point is they didn't do anything after for 3 months after the first incident. I mean not removed the cable which failed and not replaced while it was still doable properly because too less funding.
Chac Mool
Chac Mool Πριν 9 ώρες
Gravity is a b!t6h, ain't it?
Mortario1
Mortario1 Πριν 9 ώρες
Someone was just really mad at the sniper up on there
Brian Holcomb
Brian Holcomb Πριν 10 ώρες
This is really bad news for the whole world 🌎! I wouldn’t doubt that maintenance was poor! It really should have been receiving top notch maintenance, especially with all the salt air! As a wrecker operator, I know the power of relatively small cables letting loose! Small cables could cut a human in half! It was amazing how much that tower swayed as the cables began letting loose! So what’s going to happen to all our gigantic suspension bridges with cables double the age of those used on the telescope? I think we have been too complacent with those old cables around the US just never quitting! If cables on suspension bridges came from the same vendors, I think 🤔 they need to jump into action & get to replacing the oldest ones first! With the highest quality American made cables! Just imagine the 100s of Billions to replace the bridges that could possibly collapse! Brooklyn Bridge, Golden Gate, George Washington, ect ect! Never mind the loss of life & loss of Great American 🇺🇸 landmarks! 😢😢😢😢
Joe Doe
Joe Doe Πριν 14 ώρες
Space x to the rescue 🇺🇲🇵🇷🙏💡💪
Joe Doe
Joe Doe Πριν 14 ώρες
Sad 😢! Let's make it bigger and better, with a telescope!🇺🇲🇵🇷🙏💡
Jan Dabrowski
Jan Dabrowski Πριν 21 ώρα
The large dish in China does not fully replace the Arecibo functionality. In addition to collecting radio energy from the universe, Arecibo was used as a radar, one purpose was to image asteroids. The Chinese telescope does not have the radar capability.
One Love
One Love Πριν 22 ώρες
I just bet it was more of likelihood that Human intervention contributed to the demolition of the thing because with the number of problems and failures noted before it's collapse. They saw the problems but put off fixing them, they saw the seriousness of it and did little to nothing but let the problems compound as the days go by, I'm certain that Insurances will repair/rebuild them a new one.. insurance does wonders.
Cynical Miscreant
Cynical Miscreant Πριν ημέρα
it was a conspiracy
Scrapper Pun
Scrapper Pun Πριν ημέρα
A lot of scrap metal.
Derik
Derik Πριν ημέρα
Sad & hope for something new. Thank you!
Ryan Llewellyn
Ryan Llewellyn Πριν ημέρα
Factor of safties lol
Arif Hillmi
Arif Hillmi Πριν 2 ημέρες
James, James bond
Derp Ederp
Derp Ederp Πριν 2 ημέρες
Never played 007 Goldeneye on the N64 huh. We KNOW what happened there
William Haigh
William Haigh Πριν 2 ημέρες
A friend of mine was born in Puerto Rico because his father was one of the engineers who designed & built that facility.
Cameron Mind
Cameron Mind Πριν 2 ημέρες
Amazing videos of the collapse with the drone! Literally amazinf
Jason Wacome
Jason Wacome Πριν 2 ημέρες
I think it's more like China has built theirs and they probably told Biden by the way thank you for our air strip in Afghanistan now...btw.. I need you to go ahead and cut the cables on that arecibo telescope if you don't mind.... Well when I say if you don't mind I mean or else..... Thanks have a good day China signing out
Jason Wacome
Jason Wacome Πριν 2 ημέρες
I'm sure you'll get your analysis of those cables a whole lot sooner then we'll finally get the analysis out of the 9/11 steel..... That scientists are reported had thermite on the site but nobody talk about that though right......ya
Jason Wacome
Jason Wacome Πριν 2 ημέρες
No no yet again I know it's old but if you really want to save it you had the funds there trust me you had the funds there.... The American scientific foundation chose to leave that
Jason Wacome
Jason Wacome Πριν 2 ημέρες
The national science foundation on this well maybe they shouldn't have spent so many millions and millions of dollars of seeing if quails change their mood off of getting high off cocaine..... I mean there was plenty of moons of dollars spent on that that could have preserved this satellite...... But you know what do I know
linkh200
linkh200 Πριν 3 ημέρες
Objective: Settle score with Trevelyan. Cradle theme begins playing.
Neil Barnett
Neil Barnett Πριν 3 ημέρες
Wooh, you ask "when did you first hear of..." That would be 1969, when it was handed over. I was about 12 years old. 1:20 or so, I used to mend computer tape drives. Component level if necessary. In the customer's office, with them watching, if necessary!
Heath Wirt
Heath Wirt Πριν 3 ημέρες
Several factors are involved including the age of the structure but the most significant was the additional load of the new Gregorian dome and its associated instrumentation. The tie down cables to stabilize the dome added more load, none of this was part of the original engineering design. In all likelihood the original configuration would still be standing but the structure would probably be closing in on its useful service life a few years or perhaps a decade down the road. The engineering team's recommendation to tear down the structure and cordon off a safety zone until that task was completed was spot on and they should be commended for a brilliant evaluation. Time to build a replacement system that's bigger and better.
Guy Buddyman
Guy Buddyman Πριν 3 ημέρες
Excellent footage.
KG Atkinson
KG Atkinson Πριν 3 ημέρες
I've always been fascinated with civil engineering and was happy that ELvids recommended this channel. I love the videos, they provide answers to my ever curious mind about the infrastructure in the world around us that we use daily and never stop to ponder "how does that work". I've always respected engineers and their ability to create. But these videos are next level. Good job
Andrew W
Andrew W Πριν 4 ημέρες
Wow. Amazing footage of the final failure.
Tommy Kelley
Tommy Kelley Πριν 4 ημέρες
I find it kind of bitter-sweet that the engineers made the decision to destroy the structure (even if time beat them to it) for the sake of safety. This original structure served its purpose, and the next one will undoubtedly serve us in a way that will make 1960's engineers and scientists proud!
Duc Lin
Duc Lin Πριν 4 ημέρες
This was such a huge part of my childhood it makes me so sad
2675gordo
2675gordo Πριν 4 ημέρες
ET took it down! Them homies dont like uncle sam spying on em! 🤣
0m3n
0m3n Πριν 4 ημέρες
The engineers that assessed the damage and safety did an amazing job here. Definitely could have been deadly!
Ducati Dave
Ducati Dave Πριν 4 ημέρες
El Radar
Adam R
Adam R Πριν 5 ημέρες
I learned about it from Golden Eye. It was also a difficult level at the end of the game of the same name on N64. I had never seen it before and enjoyed learning about it. Shame it's gone.
Jay Daniels
Jay Daniels Πριν 5 ημέρες
Thank you for the analysis. 🔧🚀🌍
bosshoss69lee
bosshoss69lee Πριν 6 ημέρες
as a member of the group of humans who thinks making a super green house gas conscious group of people (western civilization) soulie responsible for "global warming" while letting the major green house gas producers like china operate without regulation will fix issues predicted to happen 20 years ago, will fix a made up issue, that revolves around making money, i dont have high hope for this society. welcome to the new world order
exracer 27
exracer 27 Πριν 6 ημέρες
A sad loss.
Angel
Angel Πριν 6 ημέρες
Ah- rrèh- see- bo (Arecibo) it don't matter how smart you are, you can be an idiot at the same time.
melon sharkman
melon sharkman Πριν 6 ημέρες
bf4 predicted the future
Parker
Parker Πριν 7 ημέρες
So much for that Goldeneye sequel
Laura M
Laura M Πριν 9 ημέρες
If those cables had been solid, they would have suffered the classic problem of metal fatigue much sooner, but since they were stranded, that was reduced, but isn’t it possible that metal fatigue still occurs in stranded cable? Especially after standing up to hurricanes and the unbalanced load of the added rotating dome on the platform?
Laura M
Laura M Πριν 9 ημέρες
Along with all the other issues mentioned due to environmental exposure
Charlie Harper
Charlie Harper Πριν 9 ημέρες
It's quite obvious what happened and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. Space Aliens got fed up with us listening in on their cell phone calls. They thought we were a bunch of perverts with nothing better to do. So they wrecked our giant cell phone bug. Call it what you will, but to the Space Aliens that's all it was.
canofbeans
canofbeans Πριν 9 ημέρες
when i saw this i thought this video was about battle field i didnt know it was real
Gernhart Reinholzen
Gernhart Reinholzen Πριν 9 ημέρες
Battle Field Players be like: HURR DURR DURR HUBBA HUBBA DUH BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
Natalia E. López
Natalia E. López Πριν 10 ημέρες
I only visited the radiotelescopio once that I remember. Thank you for covering the event :)
The007JiM
The007JiM Πριν 10 ημέρες
Trevelyan happened
Gernhart Reinholzen
Gernhart Reinholzen Πριν 10 ημέρες
Comments be like: Battle Field Players be like: HURR DURR DURR HUBBA HUBBA DUH BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
Gernhart Reinholzen
Gernhart Reinholzen Πριν 10 ημέρες
Very interesting! I have to admit, I did not know about that radio telescope at all before this video!
Ami_Ags
Ami_Ags Πριν 10 ημέρες
caught in 4k
Percy Lawrence
Percy Lawrence Πριν 10 ημέρες
Roller bladers... ASSEMBLE.
F Huber
F Huber Πριν 11 ημέρες
Construction by the lowest bidder...
Jogador nada experiente
Jogador nada experiente Πριν 11 ημέρες
Wow this new remake from BF4 looks more realistic than CoD Cold War
SteamCrane
SteamCrane Πριν 11 ημέρες
This is a lot more information than I've seen before, very well presented. (Mechanical Engineer)
Mich Washington
Mich Washington Πριν 11 ημέρες
I subscribed because of this video
EmilyIsHome
EmilyIsHome Πριν 12 ημέρες
i never even heard about this telescope even in school and im sad about it
sauercrowder
sauercrowder Πριν 12 ημέρες
False. Someone threw an exploding pen at some chemical tanks and then jammed a crowbar in the gears while chasing a global terrorist
harold hahn
harold hahn Πριν 13 ημέρες
Another victim of the left's climate scam! Real science is defunded, and the money is diverted to trash science jobs that buy votes for the left.
andrew daley
andrew daley Πριν 14 ημέρες
That was no accident. If you believe that well you need to wake up. 🇬🇧👍
Jennifer
Jennifer Πριν 15 ημέρες
I'm glad it's gone and now we can stop throwing good money after bad trying to fix this thing.
John Stevens
John Stevens Πριν 15 ημέρες
Golden eye 👀
President Notsure
President Notsure Πριν 15 ημέρες
Support class, hehehehe
sykrn
sykrn Πριν 16 ημέρες
bf4 players: “first time? 😏”
ZeldaKissedLink
ZeldaKissedLink Πριν 17 ημέρες
We got James Cameron piloting that drone
Game Vids
Game Vids Πριν 17 ημέρες
Arecibo should have started up a ELvids channel, then they'd have had no loss of funding at all.
Conner Johnston
Conner Johnston Πριν 17 ημέρες
Your videos are always so fascinating! I really enjoy your sincere interest in these topics and the care you put into crafting these videos. Thank you so much for the content!
Woody Plank
Woody Plank Πριν 18 ημέρες
This made me sad. I feel like we lost a friend.
camelboop
camelboop Πριν 18 ημέρες
I visited Arecibo when I was a kid and didn’t understand its significance well. Now I’m grateful for when I went when it was still in operation. 🇵🇷
Joshua 333
Joshua 333 Πριν 18 ημέρες
I know 1 thing. Drones zoomed in on a "random" catastrophic failure doesn't just happen. This was strapped on the backs of tax payers
smart451cab
smart451cab Πριν 18 ημέρες
Such a sad day when I heard about this!
Heinous Anus
Heinous Anus Πριν 18 ημέρες
We finally find out all these years later what Tina Turner meant when she sang about how she found GoldenEyes weakness.
Zac Oros
Zac Oros Πριν 19 ημέρες
Reminds me of Aperture Science laboratories. Cave Johnson where you at??
Tracy Avent-Costanza
Tracy Avent-Costanza Πριν 19 ημέρες
thank you for the pragmatic analysis. that sort of dead feeling I get from watching the focus equipment crash into the dish, is slightly less but still there. obviously arecibo was not properly maintained, but the original design probably did not expect it to be in service this long either. and who knows what stresses were created by the various enhancements. who knows what corners were cut and what loads the design could Actually handle and what damage was done when finally those limits were exceeded. I did appreciate that it was dangerous to even attempt to repair it, but still painful to watch it come crashing down.
kaiokendo
kaiokendo Πριν 19 ημέρες
Practícal engeneering or practícal WATERPROOFING
Prey Mantas
Prey Mantas Πριν 20 ημέρες
Finally, to actually see the finally dimize after the initial, highly speculative failure which still is highly suspect and now past the point of salvageable restoration give some finality to it's future in a well presented way. It's obvious the were competencies in several perspectives and subsystems of constructions. I think you brought up a good point concerning environmental considerations. Make me concerns for large bridges in similar situations and all know full well how bad our infrastructure is neglected by our wonderful government leaders are. I think it's great loss unless other more up to date way of achieving the goals have obsoleted the need for a future forward thinking replacement. Thanks for sharing!
Andrew Cruz
Andrew Cruz Πριν 21 ημέρα
For England James ?
ElCompaYaquiBarbas
ElCompaYaquiBarbas Πριν 21 ημέρα
GoldenEye:007 fuck outta here with BF4 haha.
777
777 Πριν 21 ημέρα
Because there’s no more 007 films 😂
BIGBADWOOD
BIGBADWOOD Πριν 21 ημέρα
Problem was found to be ..... Spelter cable installed by sphincter technician's !
AHMAD ROZAIMAN Manap
AHMAD ROZAIMAN Manap Πριν 22 ημέρες
just sent a wind. hahahahhhaha...teleskop.stupic.
Rod
Rod Πριν 22 ημέρες
And that clown Pelosi just added 200 million for a park in San Fran. China just built a new one, while America leaves ours to die. And democrats want to buy votes with 5500 billion dollars.
DNXRproductions
DNXRproductions Πριν 22 ημέρες
Jeez these mfs trying to be like bf4
josh7120
josh7120 Πριν 22 ημέρες
Battlefield players talking about it yet James bond goldeneye was first lol soon as I saw this i had flash backs :)
Klaus Baerbel
Klaus Baerbel Πριν 22 ημέρες
I'm not cooking, but i like your show!
Agent 47 DNS
Agent 47 DNS Πριν 23 ημέρες
BF4やん
João Augusto Microni Quites
João Augusto Microni Quites Πριν 23 ημέρες
Great video! I would love If you make one about the chinese Arecibo.
Blake Thames
Blake Thames Πριν 24 ημέρες
only clicked on it because of bf4 lmao
Steve Duncan
Steve Duncan Πριν 24 ημέρες
Wow. 60 years in the north east and you all put this much research in this to find out it's old.......
Jay Fen Per
Jay Fen Per Πριν 24 ημέρες
Battlefield 4
MrVipitis
MrVipitis Πριν 24 ημέρες
There is a large band (N band) of infrared light around 8-12μm. So ground based observations are possible, if you add are high up on a mountain or on a plane (SOFIA) to avoid clouds and disturbances. I still hope to use a uncooled microbolometer and germanium lens assembly to do ground based astronomy. But integration time is a constraint.
Hellcat9k
Hellcat9k Πριν 24 ημέρες
I've seen this happen multiple times
JYESGEE
JYESGEE Πριν 25 ημέρες
They saw what the realm of truth is... Time to destroyed before public knows the truth about the D.
Stephen Hard
Stephen Hard Πριν 25 ημέρες
Is it a little weird that this fell in real life but in the game battle field they have that same board with that same telescope collapsing
THIGAMER
THIGAMER Πριν 25 ημέρες
0:01 Dont worry, it will restart in the next round
Tickled Funny Bone
Tickled Funny Bone Πριν 25 ημέρες
In short; needed new cables because of the sea salt corrosion.
ucity metalhead
ucity metalhead Πριν 25 ημέρες
Some days my patience feels like those cables. But I really liked the failure footage that was well timed.
Nikola Radakovic
Nikola Radakovic Πριν 25 ημέρες
Somebady knows that wore will broke and set up the camera ....
Nickel & Dime Coin Hunter
Nickel & Dime Coin Hunter Πριν 25 ημέρες
Cables can rust from the inside out you cant see it coated or not and cables that old should have been replaced. More cables should have been added to the towers to. You can see the rust on the cable connectors in one of the photos.
ACDCRocksmay Yoboiyoboi
ACDCRocksmay Yoboiyoboi Πριν 26 ημέρες
BF4 players being like: this dude did not just prank everyone with a battlefield map
YouTube CHIKIS
YouTube CHIKIS Πριν 26 ημέρες
Puerto Rico moment
Ante Zloic
Ante Zloic Πριν 26 ημέρες
Who the fucks choice is it to put military first above and Infront of science!?!?
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