There is a very strange, and very short, article and update about the snapped cable at the Arecibo radio telescope that has sidelined that facility for the foreseeable future until repairs can be effected. This little update may not amount to much, but when N. shared it, I thought it important enough to pass along, since I've entertained the speculation that this incident may have been the result of deliberate sabotage. (See https://gizadeathstar.com/2020/08/cable-breaks-at-arecibos-giant-radio-telescope-causing-severe-damage/).
In that previous blog I pointed out that the pictures of the severed cable appear to be more or less a clean "cut". That "clean cut" now appears to be the focus of an investigation, or rather, an implied investigation:
There's not much here in this article to suggest sabotage, except the following, accompanied by a close up picture of that severed cable:
The cable that snapped was supposed to last at least another 15 to 20 years and appears to have been fused at the break by an extreme source of heat or energy. (Emphasis added)
And that is the extent of the article. There's not a source cited, there's no argument to the conclusion of "an extreme source of heat or energy" being the cause of the cable failure, nor any rumination on what that conclusion might mean for the three crucial questions: (1) who had the means to sever a cable in that fashion, (2) who had the opportunity to use it, and (3) who had the motive to do so, i.e., the all-important question of why it was done.
Thus far, there's been no indication of an answer to any of those three questions. But let's assume that the assertion in the article is true, and that the cable failure was due to an "extreme source of heat or energy." Given the nature of the break and where it occurs, it would appear that the break occurs nowhere near a place of easy close human access to the cable. I may be wrong here, as thus far no story to my knowledge has presented an actual diagram of where the break did occur. Thus, we can rule out a human with a diamond-tipped chain saw sawing the cable apart: a risky procedure in any case, especially since it would increase the risk of discovery. So we're left with someone nearby with the requisite means to severe the cable remotely by means of "extreme heat or energy." Pursuing the implications of this line of speculation a bit further, if such a mechanism was involved in the cable failure, it makes it unlikely that the sabotage - if that's what it is - was performed by a "disgruntled employee."
One obvious thing that comes to mind are military grade lasers or masers, and that narrows the circle of "who" quite considerably, to those with access to such equipment and the training to use it: the military, certain corporations, and so on. The opportunity component would be based upon how close they would have to be to use it. It is possible that they might not have to have access to the facility but that raises the issue of the topography of its surrounding environment, and whether there are vantage points for such an operation to be possible. This I simply do not know as I'm not familiar with the telescope's environment.
If we're going to entertain this speculation, for me, the central question is the third question: why? What was the motivation or objective? I suggest that that is implied by the result: the telescope is currently non-functional. The goal was to "blind" it. And that implies yet another "why" question. Why would anyone want to blind a telescope, unless the objective were to prevent it from seeing (or in this case, possibly hearing) something?
The question is, what?
See you on the flip side...