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How a $1.4-billion scientific project ran into a cultural buzz saw
How a $1.4-billion scientific project ran into a cultural buzz saw

Astronomers looking for sites for their giant telescopes must account for numerous conditions -- accessibility, distance from cities (sources of light pollution), minimal atmospheric turbulence -- and increasingly, cultural concerns. The last of these is what's roiling plans for one of the world's largest telescopes, the $1.4-billion Thirty Meter Telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii. Construction of the telescope, which in some ways is expected to be superior to the Hubble Space Telescope, was halted in April, soon after it began, in the face of protests from local cultural and heritage groups. The stoppage was initially...

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