Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Arecibo Observatory's 305-meter telescope in November of 2020. Photo: University of Central Florida

The famous 350-meter Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will not be fixed after multiple accidents left the telescope unstable and on the brink of collapse, according to the National Science Foundation.

Why it matters: Arecibo has contributed to myriad space science advancements for decades. The telescope provided data that helped scientists find the first planet confirmed outside of our solar system, and it has been key to the hunt for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.

Context: The telescope's most recent problems began in August when a large cable unexpectedly snapped. As engineers and operators were working to find a way to secure the unstable telescope, another cable detached on November 6.

  • According to the NSF, the repairs required to stabilize the telescope are too dangerous for workers to execute, forcing the foundation to decommission the telescope.
  • "This decision is intended to preserve life and safety of people, and prevent the loss of the entire Arecibo Observatory, including the visitor Education Center in the event of an unexpected and uncontrolled collapse," the NSF's Sean Jones said during a press conference Thursday.
  • "The decommissioning is only intended to affect the 305-meter telescope, not the rest of the observatory," Jones added.

What's next: The NSF is now developing a plan for how to demolish the telescope before it collapses.

  • Areas that would be in danger due to an unexpected collapse have been evacuated and the NSF is working to find a way to keep other scientific instruments at the observatory safe during the decommissioning process.

Go deeper

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Faces of COVID creator on telling the stories of those we've lost

America yesterday lost 2,762 people to COVID-19, per the CDC, bringing the total pandemic toll to 272,525. That's more than the population of Des Moines, Iowa. Or Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Or Toledo, Ohio.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Alex Goldstein, creator of the @FacesofCOVID Twitter account, about sharing the stories behind the statistics.

1 hour ago - Health

WSJ: Pfizer expects to ship half as many COVID vaccines as planned in 2020

A Pfizer factory in Puurs, Belgiam on Dec. 3. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech have halved their original estimate for how many coronavirus vaccines will be shipped globally by the end of this year, citing supply-chain issues, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The U.K. government has ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine — enough to inoculate some 20 million people. The companies now expect to ship 50 million vaccines by the end of 2020, instead of 100 million, per WSJ.