Students speak on Thirty Meter Telescope

To Gaze Beyond The Stars, Or To Respect The Views Of Those On Earth?

Zoe Lawrence, Reporter

For years, Mauna Kea on the Big Island has been revered for its astounding collection of interstellar telescopes and observatories. It is the highest mountain in the world from its base 56,447 feet below sea level, to its awe-inspiring 13,796 foot-above sea altitude, making it an obvious candidate for the best viewing place of the stars from Earth.

The construction of an impressive 30-meter lens telescope was to began in April of this year, but was faced with controversy and stigma in its very first steps. The Hawaiians viewed the island’s peaks and volcanoes as sacred ground. Activists and conservationists soon swarmed to the projected building site, brandishing flags and protest banners. For a few weeks, the prospect of this telescope seemed bleak. The activists would not let up in their protection of their ancestors’ beloved Mauna Kea, and even wrote letters to the Heads of State, urging them to take a closer look at the TMT issue.

Students at Kohala High School maintain their voices as well, as the topic has now become a touchy subject of debate. Some students may side with the telescope, others may oppose its construction, while others remain safely neutral still.

I asked several students for their opinions on this issue, and asked if I could quote them for the newspaper. Here is what my fellow classmates had to say;

“I’m kinda against it, because I’m from Hawaii, and this is my home.” -Makalapua Alip

“I think it would be fantastic to have a new telescope on the mountain! We could put Hawaii’s sacred ground to good use!”**

“I’m a bit neutral on the subject. I would like to have a new telescope on the island, but I think we could place it somewhere where it would not offend the people of Hawaii.”**

** sources wish to remain anonymous/ did not explicitly consent to having their name appear in Ka Leo Na ‘Opio.