"certainly seems like the NSF hasnt been doing periodic maintenance." No doubt that is the case, and from the quotes of various people that were interviewed for the recent articles by a number of reporting agencies they have no clue. Cables are machines that require periodic inspection and maintenance, and they do not last forever, even stagnant ones like the cables used here, the individual strands within the cable are always moving in relation to each other. If you see one strand has broken; as was reported in one recent article; it's time to get it replaced ASAP, not wait for the second or third wire to break. Given the age of Arrecibo they should have had a emergency repair plan in place long ago and been able to implement it right away, not months later after some engineers have studied the problem and then published a report that says in essence "yup, it's broke, you need to fix it" and then entered into another few months of coffer draining engineering studies at expedited rates because time is critical now. If it does have to be demolished then why not build a new one in the same location? That spot was perceivably chosen because it was better than any other available at the time. if that holds true today build a new one. FAST is only 50% of what is needed to be able to monitor the skies. Without a second facility on the other side of the globe you can only 'listen' for about half the time to any specific point in the heavens. Imagine how much would slip by if you're only monitoring for 12 hours a day not 24. Hey we missed seeing a NEO that slipped by at less than 300 miles just a few days ago [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_VT4 ] . Luckily it was not a biggie and would have most likely burnt up if it entered our atmosphere but we need to be tracking the thousands of known NEOs and looking for new ones 24/7 not part time. So a replacement for Arrecibo is needed now. And that will still leave a gap of years since it will take times to design and build a new Arrecibo. So to everyone who is always pushing for lower taxes, this is where some of your tax money goes (or was going before it was cut). When Congress gets pressured into trimming taxes to the bare minimum, programs like this lose funding, and we all suffer in the long run. Probably took a few years for the budget cuts to do their dirty work in this case but when your budget is shrinking where is the first place you look to cut expenses...maintenance is first on the chopping block because it does not affect people (aka employees) or projects, at least not directly or as many. The older your equipment is the more maintenance will be required, not less, it's a simple fact.