Santa Fe New Mexican
Hawaii telescope is about exploration
In response to (“Sacred ground, magnified,” July 22) from the Associated Press, the photo at the top of the article is deceiving and seems intentionally used to create the impression that the top of the summit featured, Mauna Kea, is devoid of any development or telescopes.
In reality, there are 13 telescopes in existence on the very summit of Mauna Kea, and a road to the top that tourists, scientists and technicians drive up on a daily basis. Having lived on the island of Hawaii for six years prior to moving to Santa Fe, I think I have a more accurate view of what is occurring on the Big Island.
Without a doubt, true Native Hawaiian families lost the battle of sovereignty a long time ago. They nearly lost their language and culture; fortunately, there has been a rebirth to save all that is Hawaiian. Much has been accomplished and there is more to do.
The battle for the Thirty Meter Telescope has wound its way through the Hawaii judicial system for many years and only recently was the final judgment made to allow construction of Thirty Mile Telescope to proceed.
On July 10, Gov. David Ige and the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory announced
that construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope was to begin the week of July 15. If you’re interested in reading more, go to: www.maunakeaandtmt.org.
Unquestionably, some of the world’s best astronomical research and discoveries have been occurring on the top of Mauna Kea for many decades. Because the top of Mauna Kea has such pristine air quality, at nearly 14,000 feet, it has been chosen as the best site on Earth for Thirty Meter Telescope.
The telescope will bring much to the island of Hawaii, and it will not destroy the top of Mauna Kea. As part of the agreement, some of the unused telescopes will be dismantled and removed. Many other concessions were made for the Native Hawaiians during the process.
Native Hawaiians have always been explorers and wayfarers; they piloted unknown ocean waters with the stars, wind and ocean currents to guide them. Now, to turn their backs on exploration of the universe, to use the Thirty Meter Telescope as a social media tool to make a point, is a sad demonstration of frustration by a dedicated small group of Native Hawaiians determined to get their way.