In DepthAstronomy

Hawaii's governor proposes telescope swap

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Science  05 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6239, pp. 1069-1070
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6239.1069

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A proposed solution to the impasse over construction of the mammoth new Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano is less bold than it seems—and potentially more difficult. The proposal, to dismantle one-quarter of Mauna Kea's 13 existing telescopes in return for allowing construction to proceed, would only accelerate vague existing plans to shutter some of the telescopes. Yet it promises no end of political pain, forcing researchers from different institutions and countries to compete over which telescopes to keep alive. And it may not defuse the protests that have blocked the TMT project. The proposed culling is one of 10 new conditions on the mountain's use that Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) announced during a 26 May press conference. The measures aim to address the concerns of Native Hawaiian protesters who claim the mountain as sacred ground and have blocked access to the TMT construction site.

  • * Ilima Loomis is a freelance journalist in Maui, Hawaii.

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