In DepthAstronomy

No safe haven for the Thirty Meter Telescope

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Science  06 Sep 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6457, pp. 960-961
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6457.960

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Summary

The Native Hawaiian protesters blocking the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on the summit of Mauna Kea appear to have settled in for the long haul. After 2 months of protests, their encampment on the Mauna Kea access road has shops, a cafeteria, and meeting spaces. The stalemate between astronomers eager to build one of the world's next great telescopes and opponents, many of whom believe the site is sacred, has shifted attention to the TMT's "plan B," an alternative site on La Palma, one of Spain's Canary Islands. But La Palma is beginning to look like another bed of nails for the project. Astronomers say the site is inferior for observations. Some TMT partners are reluctant to make the move and could withdraw from the $1.4 billion project. And a determined environmental group on La Palma is already fighting the TMT in the courts.

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