Thirty Meter Telescope: Knowledge for the next generation of Hawaiians

This artistic rendering shows what a thirty meter telescope would look like on top of Mauna Kea.

This artistic rendering shows what a thirty meter telescope would look like on top of Mauna Kea.

By Kaohu Paleka

I’ve been hearing a lot about the arguments going on around Mauna Kea and the construction of a Thirty Meter Telescope. Personally, I think the locals are exaggerating the impact of the telescope that the University of Hawaii is planning to put on the mountain.

I read an interesting article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser written by a young women named Alexis Acohido. She brought up some good points that I think would change people’s view of the TMT. She spoke about how the TMT will be committed to supporting Hawaii’s next generation of STEM students.

As a graduating high school senior, I think the TMT is great. The next generation is what everyone should be fighting for, not the past. TMT also helps to sponsor Akamai Workforce which helps college students with internships at observatories and at other companies around Hawaii.

I just don’t see how building a telescope would ruin the world. Look at it this way: TMT has already helped support Hawaii’s youth, and now they are looking to help the future. I think the people of Hawaii should just face the facts and realize that the world is changing. I know, being a Hawaiian myself that change is hard to accept, and believe me, I know just how stubborn our race can be, once we put our minds to something then there’s no giving up.

I also read another article by Jonathan Osorio, Shelley Muneoka and Candace Fujikane. These people brought up some good arguments like, “Why should 30 meters be sufficient when three or 12 were not.” What these authors are asking is, why build another telescope when there are already several smaller ones on Mauna Kea?

They believe that TMT will destroy the sacred land that rests on Mauna Kea, but let me just say that it’s time to move on, Hawaii will still be Hawaii, telescope or no telescope. The critics think that if TMT continues to build then eventually they will want to build an even bigger telescope on the mountain. This proves my point even more, it shows that these people are so scared of change that they are willing to sacrifice knowledge for thousands of Hawaiian children to satisfy their desire to preserve the past.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that our past in Hawaii is very important but so is the future.