The path forward for astronomers and native Hawaiians
, 2023-01-31 01:00:00,
In 2015, the astronomy community was excitedly anticipating the next generation in ground-based optical astronomy. After more than 20 years of 10-meter telescope category The largest and most powerful in the worldThree 30-meter telescopes were slated for construction: two in Chile and one in Hawaii. While the Giant Magellan Telescope and the European Very Large Telescope were overwhelmingly supported by natives, the proposed Hawaiian Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) – like many telescopes over Mauna Kei before it – faced significant protests and opposition from Native Hawaiians, who cited many telescopes. Concerns and grievances go back decades or even centuries.
In one of the worst PR moves in all of science’s history, a number of top astronomers circulated a message saying, in part, “The Thirty Meter Telescope is in trouble, as it has been attacked by a mob of Native Hawaiians who lie about the project’s impact on the mountains and who threaten the safety of TMT staff.” Government officials support TMT’s legality to proceed but do not arrest any of the protesters blocking the road.” The letter served to galvanize not only native Hawaiians against TMT and the status quo of astronomy on Mauna Kea in general, but indigenous communities around the world and much of the astronomy community as well.
Is there a viable path forward for Native Hawaiians and astronomers? It can both…
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