Categorized | Featured, Sci-Tech

Thirty Meter Telescope set to start construction

Hawaii 24/7 Staff

Protesters who blocked the road and disrupted a blessing ceremony Tuesday will not impact the start of construction on the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope.

About 100 opponents to the project on Mauna Kea lined the access road and prevented bus loads of officials, dignitaries and invited guests from continuing to the blessing site.

However, some were able to walk around the protesters, maneuver through the multi-vehicle roadblock and headed up the mountain to the TMT site in other vehicles.

TMT officials had planned a traditional Hawaiian blessing with Kahu Danny Akaka and groundbreaking before beginning construction. The groundbreaking and blessing event at the TMT site was by invitation.

The ceremony was scheduled to be streamed live on the Internet for viewers around the world. The livestream was shut down when the blessing event was disrupted.

While a few may have been on hand to conduct a morning prayer ceremony at the summit; the majority blocking access on the road to the summit seemed more intent on protesting the project that has come under fire since it was proposed more than seven years ago.

No arrests were made and authorities said they did not blockade the roadway.

When a handful of protesters arrived at the blessing site – which is not on the Mauna Kea summit – and disrupted the blessing and groundbreaking ceremony – the ceremony was halted.

Following the abbreviated ceremony, TMT officials released the following statement:

“In the spirit of aloha and in reverence for the sacredness of Mauna Kea, a blessing of the land occurred on the morning of Tuesday, Oct 7. The remainder of the ceremony was interrupted by protestors. We concluded the ceremony early as we were unable to continue with speeches by distinguished guests from Hawaii and around the world. The TMT project has initiated the construction phase and we are happy to be moving forward. Much work has been done on TMT around the world, on mirrors, instruments, and more. The momentum is forward.”

When complete – likely in 2021 – the observatory will be the most powerful in the world. Scientists anticipate it will help unlock the secrets of the cosmos. Interests from China, Japan, Canada and India are partners in the project.

TMT has initiated its $1 million per year contribution to The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund, a program that promotes science, technology, engineering, and math education across grades K-12, secondary, and post-secondary education. The Hawaii Community Foundation and the Ke Alii Pauahi Foundation will administer the THINK Fund.

— Find out more:
www.tmt.org

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