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Hawaii telescope operators abandon millions of dollars worth of instrumentation, evacuate employees amid Mauna Kea protests



The Hawaii's Mauna Kea evacuated employees have been evacuated Tuesday, amid growing protests that have blocked an access road to the construction site of a second $ 1.4 billion "Thirty Meter Telescope" (TMT) to be built on the mountain, reports said.

Directors have closed the East Asia Observatory on Mauna Kea on Tuesday as a safety precaution for employees, effectively abandoning millions of dollars worth of instrumentation on telescopes at the facility that requires constant maintenance, Hawaii News Now reports. the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources is preparing to arrest protesters, many of them elderly, who are blocking a road to prevent the construction of a giant telescope on a mountain that some native Hawaiians consider sacred, on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii, July 1

7, 2019. (Cindy Ellen Russell / Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP) “/>

Officials from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources prepare to arrest protesters, many of them elderly, who are blocking a road to prevent construction of a a giant telescope on a mountain that some Native Hawaiians consider sacred, on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii, July 17, 2019. (Cindy Ellen Russell / Honolulu Star-Ad vertiser via AP)
      

"This is a risk for us to have to step away at this point," said Jessica Dempsey, deputy director for the East Asian Observatory, told Hawaii

POLICE IN HAWAII REPRESSED ARRESTING PROTESTERS IN STANDOFF OVER CONSTRUCTION OF MAUNA KEA TELESCOPE News Now. "

Some native Hawaiians consider Mauna Kea and sacred place.

Police, the Hawaiian National Guard and self-described native "protectors" have been engaged in a tense standoff since Monday's scheduled start of construction. On Wednesday, 33 people were arrested during a sit-in on the Mauna Kea Access Road, and a state spokesperson told Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Demonstrators reported abandoned vehicles in the middle of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway leading to the Thirty Meter Telescope construction site. The police eventually drew back from the protest after a deal was reached that demonstrators would clear their cars from the road to allow construction equipment to be transported up the mountain, the newspaper reported

"This is a risk for us to have step away at this point. "

– Jessica Dempsey, deputy director for the East Asian Observatory

Mauna Kea, the highest peak in Hawaii at nearly 14,000 feet was chosen as the site for the telescope in 2009 due to its elevation and lack of light pollution.

The telescope, when completed, will be able to be seen in the deep space and produce images 12 times sharper than the Hubbell Space Telescope, its website adds. will have a 30-meter prime mirror diameter that is "three times as wide, with a nine times more area than the world's largest visible telescope in the world," its website says. The TMT International Observatory LLC, which describes itself as a "non-profit international partnership" between educational and scientific institutions around the world, is the designer of the project

Tyler Olson contributed to this report.


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