Scientists, educators, and space explorers all converged on the Hawaii Convention Center on Thursday.
They were there to talk about Hawaii's future.
And their conversation focused on, among other things, the educational possibilities of the Thirty Meter Telescope slated for Mauna Kea.
The conference, "Future Focus: The Hawaii Innovation Initiative's Forum on Astronomy, Space Exploration, Cybersecurity & More," was meant at underscoring Hawaii's role in breakthroughs in astronomy and space exploration.
On TMT, astronomers said they knew there would be much work ahead to ensure Mauna Kea was being managed properly.
"So our challenge in that is to look at how we can bring these value systems together to coalesce," said Ka'iu Kimura, executive director of the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center on Hawaii Island.
After years of legal wrangling, the state Land Board has approved a permit for TMT, though the issue is likely to head to the state Supreme Court.
Mary Beth Laychak, outreach coordinator for the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, said TMT is a "leap forward."
Some 250 participants attended the conference, hosted by the Hawaii Business Roundtable and the University Hawaii.
The keynote speaker was NASA astronaut Edward Michael "Mike" Fincke, who spent 381 days on the International Space Station.
"We really need to make sure our kids are well trained," Fincke said. "have the educational opportunities, start to focus on the science technology engineering and math."