– extracts from the article –
A plan to build the world’s largest optical telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii has won approval from the State Board of Land and Natural Resources.
The decision, which was made on Friday, clears the way for the group managing the Thirty Meter Telescope project to negotiate a sublease for land with the University of Hawaii. The telescope would be able to observe planets that orbit stars other than the Sun and would enable astronomers to watch new planets and stars being formed. It should also help scientists see about 13 billion light-years away for a glimpse of the early years of the universe.
Some Native Hawaiian groups had petitioned against the project, arguing that it would defile the mountain’s sacred summit. Tradition holds that high altitudes are sacred and are a gateway to heaven. In the past, only high chiefs and priests were allowed at Mauna Kea’s summit.