Hawaii’s supreme court has ruled that construction of the protest-hit Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) can begin. In a ruling yesterday, judges rejected an appeal to a decision last year by Hawaii’s Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) to grant a construction permit to the TMT. This is the last hurdle before construction, should the TMT International Observatory (TIO) still go ahead with its preferred site on Mauna Kea.
The TMT will be one of the world’s largest ground-based telescopes with a 30 m primary mirror that is made up of 492 hexagonal segments. The structure that will house the telescope will be 66 m wide and 56 m tall. Mauna Kea was chosen as the observatory’s site in July 2009 and officials then began work on being granted the necessary approvals and permits. However, after construction began in 2014, some native Hawaiians protested. They regard the Mauna Kea summit as sacred and had previously objected to the growth in the number of telescopes there. This then led to the TMT organisation postponing construction.To read more, click here.