TMT team picks alternative site to contested Hawaii site

TMT team picks alternative site to contested Hawaii site

Bowing to severe opposition from native Hawaiians and environment activists, the team behind the so-called Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) has chosen Spain’s Canary Islands as a possible alternative to the Hawaiian site for building the world’s largest telescope.

Last week, the TMT International Observatory Board of Governors discussed the project’s progress and identified La Palma island’s Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos as the primary alternative to Hawaii as the primary site for building the telescope.

The team announced that TMT would be built on the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean in case Hawaii residents don’t allow it to build the telescope at the Mauna Kea volcano on the Big Island. Hawaiian residents consider the Mauna Kea volcano sacred.

Kealoha Pisciotta, one of opponents of the telescope, said, “I’m glad they’re looking at alternative sites. I have to say if they do go with the alternative site, I hope they don’t do there what they’re doing to Native Hawaiians and the people of Hawaii.”

Announcing the alternative site, the TMT International Observatory Board’s chairperson Henry Yang said the new possible site was identified after careful deliberation.

The identification of the Canary Islands as an alternative site for building TMT, which would cost nearly $1.4 billion, has been announced nearly a year after the Hawaii Supreme Court blocked the construction of the controversial telescope.


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