However, things did not go according to plan as another cable snapped on November 6, crashing onto the dish and causing more damage.
Scientists, students and Puerto Ricans are among those mourning the collapse of the iconic radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
The NSF said no injuries were reported.
Scientists from all over the world have used the telescope to look for signs of extraterrestrials, study distant planets, and monitor potentially unsafe asteroids.
The Arecibo Observatory telescope was used as a massive prop in 1995's GoldenEye film, where Pierce Brosnan's James Bond confronted former MI6 agent Alec Trevelyan, portrayed by Sean Bean, in the final scene.
Two cables supporting the reflector dish had broken since August, causing damage and forcing officials to close the observatory as engineering firms retained by the University of Central Florida, which manages the observatory, studied ways to fix the damage.
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However, observatory director Francisco Cordova, said that while the NSF decided it was too risky to fix the damaged cables before Tuesday's collapse, he believes there had been options, such as relieving tension in certain cables or using helicopters to help redistribute weight.
This week's collapse occurred when the tops of all three support towers broke away, dropping the platform and its support cables, though the exact cause will require a full investigation. "There was no way to stop it. It was too much for the old girl to take". Preliminary assessments indicate the observatory's learning center sustained significant damage from falling cables.
In the same statement, Michael Wiltberger, head of NSF's Geospace Section, said the observatory "has helped transform our understanding of the ionosphere, showing us how density, composition and other factors interact to shape this critical region where Earth's atmosphere meets space". The National Science Foundation said at the time that it meant to eventually reopen the visitor center and restore operations at the observatory's remaining assets, including its two LIDAR facilities used for upper atmospheric and ionospheric research, such as analyzing cloud cover and precipitation data.
After standing for 57 years, the year 2020 really took its toll on the Arecibo Observatory. "Friends, it is with deep regret to inform you that the Arecibo Observatory platform has just collapsed", meteorologist Deborah Martorell tweeted early Tuesday, showing an image of the site, where dust floated in the air. In August, an auxiliary support cable had "detached" from its tower and smashed into the dish below, leaving an about 30 m gash in it. The Arecibo Observatory telescope will be remembered for its presence in science, humanitarianism, and pop culture.