Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) applauded the passage by unanimous consent of a bipartisan resolution to recognize the significant scientific, educational, and economic contributions made by the Arecibo Observatory telescope in Barrio Esperanza, Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The Arecibo telescope, completed in 1963, was the world’s largest single-aperture telescope for more than five decades, and collapsed just over one year ago.
“I’m glad that the Senate passed this important resolution recognizing the scientific, historical, and cultural significance of the Arecibo Observatory telescope for Puerto Ricans and all U.S. citizens,” said Senator Warren. “This resolution paves the way for us to explore how to replace and expand on the scientific capabilities of the Arecibo Observatory telescope for future generations.”
“I’m proud of the Senate’s unanimous passage of this bipartisan resolution to recognize the important contributions of the telescope at Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory,” said Senator Blumenthal. “For decades, this scientific marvel advanced our understanding of the universe and its collapse left a significant void for our country and the world’s scientific community. This significant step expresses the strong support of the Senate for further studies for how to replace—and expand upon—this telescope’s capabilities to benefit education and science at the world-class Arecibo Observatory.”
“Scientific research and accurate data can provide us with the insight and information to create a safer and more hopeful world,” said Senator Markey. “I applaud the Senate for supporting this important resolution that will encourage the National Science Foundation to identify the best next steps in replacing the Arecibo Observatory telescope, which served as a beacon for innovation and discovery and a cultural symbol in Puerto Rico for decades. I thank my colleagues for their partnership on this resolution.”
“The December 2020 collapse of the Arecibo Observatory telescope was a loss not only for our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico, but also for the nation’s scientific community,” said Senator Rubio. “I thank my colleagues for passing our bipartisan resolution recognizing its significance and remain committed to exploring ways for the observatory to recover in the wake of the accident.”
“The collapse of the Arecibo Observatory telescope left a significant void for the scientific community in Puerto Rico, our nation and across the world, especially for the thousands of students it inspired,” said Senator Scott. “I’m glad the Senate passed this important resolution today to recognize the unparalleled scientific, educational and economic contributions that the Arecibo telescope has made and encourage federal agencies to determine the best path forward for replacing the capabilities lost in the telescope’s collapse.”
“The scientific, cultural, and educational importance of the Arecibo Observatory cannot be overstated,” said Senator Menendez. “I’m pleased the Senate has adopted this resolution, highlighting the immense contributions of this historic landmark and center. When the observatory collapsed in 2020, we engaged with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to monitor developments. We will continue to push for rebuilding the observatory and further investing in scientific innovation in Puerto Rico.”
“Arecibo Observatory has helped ensure Arizona leads the way in space exploration, research, and innovation. Our bipartisan resolution honors the observatory’s contributions by calling to restore capabilities lost after the telescope’s destruction,” said Senator Sinema.
“As the largest single-dish telescope on the planet, the telescope at the Arecibo Observatory helped expand our understanding of the universe for nearly sixty years. Its collapse was a devastating loss for the scientific community and the people of Puerto Rico. I’m glad to recognize its contributions while looking toward how we can move forward and replace it,” said Senator Murphy.
Over its 57 years in operation, the Arecibo telescope significantly advanced STEM education and played a vital role within the scientific community. The Senate resolution recognizes the loss of this important scientific instrument for the research community and the important role it played in advancing the studies of space and atmospheric sciences, radar astronomy and planetary sciences, astronomy, and astrophysics. The resolution encourages the National Science Foundation (NSF), the current owner of the Arecibo Observatory, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to work with other agencies to continue their studies to determine the most appropriate way to replace the scientific capabilities that were lost at the observatory, and utilize new state-of-the-art technologies at the site.
A similar resolution was introduced by U.S. Representative González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico) in the House and advanced as part of the America COMPETES Act last week.
In December, Senator Warren, along with Senators Blumenthal, Markey, Rubio, and Rick Scott introduced a bipartisan resolution that recognized the significant contributions of the Arecibo telescope.