Scientists who plan to build one of the world’s largest telescopes on the Hawaiian Mountains said Wednesday’s work will not start until next year.
Gordon Squires, vice president of the TMT International Observatory, told Hawaii News Now that the coronavirus pandemic provides a complicated and unsafe situation to move forward.
“Due to the arrival of the pandemic and other factors, winter seems to have a long way to go, but it is not far from us. For us, restoring the construction activities on the site is a good thing for Mauna Kea. It’s not feasible,” Squires told reporters. TV station.
He told Honolulu star advertisers that it would take at least three months to start construction at the best time. He said, but importing equipment and personnel from the continental United States may now require twice the preparation time.
However, Squires said the consortium behind the US$2.4 billion (approximately Rs 18,032 crore) project is still committed to Hawaii.
Some universities in California and Canada plan to build 30-meter telescopes on top of the mountain with partners in China, India, and Japan.
Native Hawaiian activists blocked the road to the top of the mountain last year, preventing the building from moving forward. They said that the summit of Mauna Kea is sacred and that the new observatory will further contaminate the site, which already has several telescopes built in recent decades. Law enforcement agencies arrested dozens of elderly people who participated in the demonstrations.
Kealoha Pisciotta, one of the leaders of the Telescope Wars, said she felt sad about the consortium’s new plan.
“Although it gives us some breathing opportunities, it still means that we have to wait a year to continue desecrating our mountain,” the Associated Press told reporters.
She said that she is happy that TMT will not take action during the pandemic.
In March, fearing the spread of the coronavirus, protesters camped in Mauna Kea to stop construction activities, demolished their big tents and left. Pisciotta said there are still some protesters.
She still said that TMT intends to continue to build in the future means that “the human and civil rights of the Hawaiian people will continue to be violated, and our elders will continue to receive more arrests.”
The team behind TMT has selected the Canary Islands in Spain as a backup site for the observatory.
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