Story 2014-10-14 2TBQ Work begins on Thirty Meter telescope despite criticism

Work begins on Thirty Meter telescope despite criticism

by
in space on (#2TBQ)
When completed in 2022, the mammoth Thirty Meter Telescope will have eight times the light-gathering area of any other optical telescope. But many Hawaiians are opposed to it.

The ceremony demonstrated the combustible mix of science, local traditions, and politics that have dogged the summit's development for decades and the TMT project in particular. The ceremony was interrupted for several hours as local opponents staged a peaceful protest[3], using their cars to block the road leading to the summit. Some held signs using TMT to spell out "Too Many Telescopes."

Mauna Kea, often translated as "White Mountain" because it's sometimes capped with snow, rises 13,796 feet (4,205 m) from the Pacific Ocean and is sacred to native Hawaiians. The dormant volcano is known locally as wao akua ("realm of the gods"), and its slopes are dotted with shrines, altars, and hidden burial grounds.

According to the master plan drawn up in 1983 (extended in 2000) between state environmental officials and the University of Hawaii, which manages the summit, no more than the 13 domes can be built on the summit. This limitation ultimately led to cancellation of plans to add four small "outrigger" telescopes to Keck Observatory's existing giant twin domes.

Despite the protests, construction for the TMT has been approved and will move forward. When completed, perhaps as early as 2022, the telescope will leapfrog to the top ranking of the world's largest optical telescopes.

Each of the 492 mirror segments that comprise the Thirty Meter Telescope's f/1 primary mirror will be constantly adjusted for optimum alignment. An 11½-by-8-foot pickoff mirror protrudes through the central opening and directs light sideways to one of several planned instruments.
Reply 7 comments

Nice post. (Score: 2)

by kerrany@pipedot.org on 2014-10-14 14:20 (#2TBS)

This is indeed news for nerds, and thanks for putting it up - I never would have heard about it from more traditional news sources.

Re: Nice post. (Score: 1)

by zafiro17@pipedot.org on 2014-10-16 13:29 (#2TDP)

Happy to keep Pipedot techie. I'm also doing my best to keep all that lefty-righty conspiracy, faux-rage stuff off the site too.

I've got less time these days though, and this site is only going to be as good as its article-submitters, editors, and commentators.

Finally a point against the Demon Haunted World! (Score: 3, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-10-14 16:25 (#2TBV)

It's SO refreshing to see a "screw your make-believe, we've got work to do" attitude win for a change.

"Local traditions", "sacred to native Hawaiians", please. Ugliness is certainly a valid complaint, but from the article photo it seems the (rather cool) telescope site will be a small blip on the large volcano.

Sorry wackjobs and fundamentalists, the whole earth isn't subject to your freaking superstitions. Humans have work to do, work that may help us all live a bit longer and have a planet to call home. You want something worthy of making "sacred"? Try that beautiful new telescope you're privileged enough to host, and the smart people designing, running, and learning from it.

Re: Finally a point against the Demon Haunted World! (Score: 1)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-10-14 17:16 (#2TC0)

Hear hear! Less bullshit and more science is always a good thing.

SQA debarcle (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-10-16 08:25 (#2TDH)

Can it be any worse that what happened with the SQA? http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_Kilometre_Array

Re: SQA debarcle (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org on 2014-10-16 14:13 (#2TDQ)

Maybe I'm missing it but that article is about the SKA, not the SQA, and doesn't seem to have anything controversial involved in it aside from a little trouble with an oil company possibly messing up their radio waves. The last line of the article is telling - "The largest risk to the overall project is probably its budget, which to this datehas not been committed." But you were talking about an "SQA" - maybe it's a different thing? Wikipedia is not very helpful on the acronym, though.

Re: SQA debarcle (Score: 1, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-10-16 21:00 (#2TE4)

But it was a debarcle.

:-)