Lā 323: Alternate sites considered for embattled giant telescope

KITV Posted: Feb 11, 2016 2:16 PM HST Updated: Feb 11, 2016 2:19 PM HST

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A group building one of the world's largest telescopes wants to start construction no later than April 2018 - even if that means it will have to build the telescope somewhere other than Hawaii.

Thirty Meter Telescope Executive Director Ed Stone says the project's board of directors decided last week to start identifying alternate sites in case the telescope can't be built in Hawaii. He says Hawaii's tallest mountain remains the first choice.

Construction hasn't been able to progress on Mauna Kea because of protests by those who consider it sacred to Native Hawaiians. In December, the state Supreme Court invalidated the project's permit to build on conservation land, sending the matter back for a new court hearing.

Mauna Kea was selected as the site over Chile's Cerro Armazones mountain in 2009.