Battle for the Mauna Kea Telescope
In Hawaii County, Hawaii, a dormant volcano which stands more than 13,000 feet above sea level is currently being fought over by Native Hawaiians against a team of scientists. The plan is to build a 1.4 Billion dollar telescope on the site. The TMT Observatory Corporation originally decided on the site for the new telescope in July of 2009 after much research had taken place between the Hawaiian location and the mountain of Cerro Armazones in Chile.
They want the site to be the home for the new Mauna Kea telescope because the area is thought to be one of the darkest areas in the world. The Telescope will measure 30 meters across and is proposed to be the next generations advanced ground based telescope. The completion is thought wrap up in 2018 and once finished, will be able to find and research the earliest galaxies of our universe.
Professor Masanori Iye, the Extremely Large Telescope Project Director of the NAOJ said
“The selection of Hawaii as the site for the Thirty Meter Telescope will greatly strengthen international cooperation in astronomy. The synergy between TMT and the highly successful Subaru Telescope already on Mauna Kea will lead to many further research breakthroughs.”
Above: News Channel KITV recently reported on the controversy surrounding the protest
Although this project has received millions for project development by foundations and Universities, there have been some recent hold ups by Native Hawaiian protesters who claim the site to be a sacred place. Since April, construction has been interrupted and many arrests have been made. Some claim that building the large telescope on that area is a desecration to the mountain and say that they won’t rest until the project is fully abandoned.
On Thursday, the supreme court case took place regarding why the permit which was issued and protesters are continuing to fight against the progress of the construction.