The legal issue of the Thirty Meter Telescope being built on the Mauna Kea Summit is nearing a conclusion, as the Hawaiian Supreme Court granted the case an application that will transfer the legal issue from the Intermediate Court of Appeals to the highest court in the state and settle the matter for good.
Both the opponents of the TMT as well as its supporters are delighted by the Supreme Court`s decision. The opponents of the TMT view the gesture as recognition of the fact that the placement of the TMT needs legal scrutiny and that their cause is just.
The supporters of the TMT, do not believe that the decision granted by the legal minds will stop the telescope from being built on the summit of Mauna Kea, one of the tallest mountains in Hawaii and expect to resume construction as soon as possible.
The Thirty Meters Telescope is a $1.4 billion piece of equipment which is being built by the University of Hawaii on the summit of Mauna Kea, a place of pilgrimage for astronomers all over the world. The Mauna Kea summit is one of the best places in the world to observe the sky as it has a clear, undisrupted view of the sky for 300 days a year.
The Mauna Kea summit is also protected against most light and air pollution and so it offers excellent viewing opportunities for astronomers. Thanks to the TMT, scientists estimate that they will be able to see 13 billion light years away into foreign galaxies where hopefully, the biggest mysteries of the Universe will be unveiled.
Opponents of the TMT are represented by the Mauna Kea Hui members who believe that the TMT will disrupt the Hawaiian native lands and destroy their cultural heritage.
The construction of the TMT, which began in April this year, was delayed by seven years of environmental studies, court proceedings and public hearings. The construction was permitted after a circuit court granted the University of Hawaii the TMT building, however, the plaintiffs appealed the decision shortly after. As complicated as it was, this issues seems to be coming to a conclusion as the highest court in the state will make its decision in this matter.
The supporters of the Thirty Meter Telescope are sure that the court will side with them and support the decision previously made and thus the TMT construction will resume. If the TMT is allowed to be built, both the observatory, as well as the telescope, are expected to be fully functional by 2024.
Image Source: wikipedia