Near Death Experience: The Collapse of a Telescope

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Near death experience.
The demise of the 300-foot telescope. Image: NRAO

A near death experience at an astronomy observatory?

My son and I attended the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Green Bank West Virginia 140-foot radio telescope 50th year celebration.

Most of my fellow attendees were new to me. I’d never met them before. This was because, first, many of them were from Green Bank, WV (I had been in Charlottesville, VA), and secondly, they were older than I am, having worked on the 140-foot from early on.

A Casual Acquaintance – Near Death Experience

One person I introduced myself to (I have learned to introduce myself to strangers, a wondrous practice, really) told me her husband was a mechanic on the 300-foot telescope that completely collapsed one night about 9:00 pm. He had been on the scope approximately a mere 5 hours before its demise! He would almost surely have been killed, had it happened when he was on it.

What About You?

Have you or your family or friends ever been exposed to a near death experience, whether at work or during entertainment (or indeed, at any other time)?

Please tell us about it.

At any rate, at the end of the observance, I saw the lady again (probably this is the last time I ever will see her) and said “Goodbye” to her. I currently live in Virginia, and am unlikely ever to return to see her.

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