The Satellite Dish From GoldenEye Might Be Rebuilt

On December 1, 2020, the “satellite dish” that you could play on in 1995’s GoldenEye game suffered a catastrophic failure and collapsed. Now, the Puerto Rican government is pledging $8 million to go toward potentially rebuilding the structure.

The structure that is seen in 1995’s GoldenEye game for the N64 isn’t actually a satellite dish, as it’s not designed to communicate with orbiting satellites. Instead, the installation was a 1,000-foot wide radio telescope that was designed to search the cosmos. The telescope was completed in 1963 and served as the world’s largest radio telescope until a larger 1,640-foot wide telescope was completed in China in 2016.

In its 57-year long history, the telescope served to advance research in radio astronomy, atmospheric science and even lent a hand in the search for a real-world galactic Citadel. In August, the telescope suffered damage to one of the cables that held the massive central structure aloft following tropical storm Isaias. In November, the National Science Foundation, which operated the telescope, planned on dismantling the structure due to concerns about collapse. Of course, the central structure eventually did collapse, prompting Puerto Rican Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced to sign an executive order allocating $8 million to clean up the remains of the telescope.

Unfortunately, it will probably be several years if we know whether or not a replacement telescope will be built. In a statement to Engadget, the National Science Foundation stated that the process “for funding and constructing large-scale infrastructure, including telescopes, is a well-established, multi-year procedure.” The NSF goes on to state that, because of the recent collapse, it can’t comment on any plans to replace the structure, or whether the site will be used again.

However, the NSF is careful to emphasize that the observatory isn’t closed. The telescope may not be operational, but the archived data is still being studied. In addition, there is a secondary telescope at the site, albeit much smaller in diameter, that is still in operation and is still providing researchers with much-needed data. Whether the telescope is ultimately rebuilt or not, we are glad that it was built in the first place. We do hope that a bigger, better, equally iconic telescope can be built in the future.

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