Movies | November 21, 2020 6:30 am

The Observatory From the Climax of “GoldenEye” Is Falling Apart

The Arecibo Radio Telescope is not long for this world

Arecibo Observatory
Arecibo Radio Telescope (Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean not included).
Alessandro Cai

What’s the location where fans of cinematic adventures of James Bond and space exploration can find common ground? Here’s a hint: it might not be around for much longer. Located in Puerto Rico, the Arecibo Radio Telescope has offered astronomers a high-tech way to look into space for decades. It’s also the place where Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean had their climactic battle in GoldenEye, leading to arguably Bean’s most intense cinematic death ever.

Unfortunately, the radio telescope has accumulated significant damage in the time since then. The earthquakes that have plagued Puerto Rico over the last few years have made their mark on the facility; earlier this week, the National Science Foundation announced that it would be torn down.

Writing at The New York Times, Dennis Overbye explored the events that led to this point. Beginning earlier this year, several cables used for support in the facility have failed; that, in turn, led engineers to determine that the damage was too extensive, and that an attempt to repair the facility would not be sufficient to save it.

The timetable for decommissioning the structure has not yet been finalized. Overbye also reports that a laser radar and the facility’s visitor center would be preserved. No announcement has been made on whether a replacement for the radio telescope will be built — though given the discoveries made using the facility over the years, there’s certainly a solid scientific case to be made for it.