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An artist's conception of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

An artist's conception of the Thirty Meter Telescope

TMT Collaborative

Affirming support for Thirty Meter Telescope, Hawaii's governor calls for closing others

In an attempt to break the impasse over a mammoth telescope that astronomers plan to build atop the tallest mountain in the Pacific, Hawaii Governor David Ige has called for the elimination of a quarter of the telescopes already there. At a press conference yesterday, Ige, a Democrat, affirmed his support for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), a $1.55 billion behemoth that would perch 193 meters below the 4205-meter summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. Construction is currently on hold as Native Hawaiian protesters claim the mountain as sacred and have blocked access to the construction site. But Ige also chastised the University of Hawaii for its handling of the mountain and called for removing a quarter of the 13 telescopes already there before the start of TMT operations, planned for 2022. He also called for the return to a state agency of 4000 hectares of land that the university isn't using for astronomy and the formation of a Mauna Kea Cultural Council to oversee the mountain. In the past, protesters have said no compromise over the construction of TMT is possible.