MAUNA KEA SELECTED AS SITE FOR 30 METER TELESCOPE

July 21, 2009, 3:38 PM HST · Updated July 21, 3:38 PM
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The group tasked with selecting a site for the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope selected Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii, today as its preferred site.

Image Courtesy: tmt.org, An artist’s concept showing the segmented primary mirror, which has 492 hexagonal segments arranged into an f/1 hyperboloidal mirror

Image Courtesy: tmt.org, An artist’s concept showing the segmented primary mirror, which has 492 hexagonal segments arranged into an f/1 hyperboloidal mirror

Governor Linda Lingle praised the decision by the board of directors of the TMT Observatory Corporation saying, it marks “an extraordinary step forward in the state’s continuing efforts to establish Hawai’i as a center for global innovation for the future.

“As we work to address immediate fiscal and economic challenges facing the state, it is imperative that we also remain focused on investing in our long-term future and building the foundation for a diverse and robust economy. The TMT is another important advancement that will help us achieve long-term prosperity for Hawai’i,” said Lingle.

In terms of job growth, Lingle says the project is expected to generate an estimated 140 full-time employees one it begins operations.

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“Having the most advanced telescope in the world on the slopes of Mauna Kea will enhance Hawai’i’s high-technology sector, while providing our students with education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields,” said Lingle.

The other location under consideration during the review was Chile’s Atacama Desert.  Cultural sensitivities to the site location on Hawaii island was one of the hot topics raised during the island’s mayoral elections in November.

The Hawaii location has also drawn opposition from some groups of cultural and environmental advocates who argue against additional construction because of the sacredness of the summit area and the extent of development that already exists at the site.

The project is a partnership between UCSB, the California Institute of Technology, AURA and an organization of Canadian universities.

(By Wendy Osher © 2009)

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