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Rubio, González-Colón Urge Proper Management of Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory

Nov 18, 2022 | Press Releases

Following the December 2020 collapse of the Arecibo Observatory (AO) telescope in Barrio Esperanza, Arecibo, Puerto Rico, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and bipartisan Senate colleagues passed a resolution commemorating the observatory and encouraging the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to work to replace the scientific capabilities that were lost at the facility.
Last month, the NSF proposed a plan to realign the facility as a STEM education and research center while excluding management and operations of other scientific instruments and assets, such as the 12-meter antenna and the LIDAR facility, currently available at the site. 
Rubio and U.S. Representative Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) sent a bipartisan and bicameral letter to Sethuraman Panchanathan, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), requesting the agency update the plan to manage the AO to include management and operations of the scientific instruments currently at this site. 

  • “The AO has hosted programs for STEM education and research for decades. One of the fundamental necessities of the training and education programs offered at the AO is the ability to work alongside scientists who are on-site, get hands-on experience operating the instruments at the facility, and directly analyze new scientific data. Without active, multidisciplinary, world-class research present, there is no platform for truly robust STEM education at the AO.”

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), as well as Representatives Mike Waltz (R-FL), María Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), also signed the letter.
Want more information? Read the full letter here.