Construction of Thirty Meter Telescope expected to take 10 years to complete

Attorney General asks protesters not to provoke 'lawfully engaged' contractors building telescope

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope could start at any time, but TMT officials aren’t yet saying when that will happen.

“Obviously, we do want to start construction as soon as possible but we are going to meet with the state and county officials to come up with an exact date at this point," said Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the telescope.

He said all permits are in place. But before heavy equipment can go back up the mountain, a number of security, safety and and access issues need to be worked out.

It’s a massive job that’s expected to take 10 years to complete.

And nothing about TMT will be small. In fact, it will be the largest telescope in the Northern Hemisphere.

It’s being built by an international collaboration called the TMT International Observatory, which involves astronomers in California, Japan, China, India and Canada.

The telescope’s giant 30-meter diameter mirror will have nearly 500 segments of reflective glass pieced together.

Leaders of the project say the images they’ll collect will be more than 12 times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope.

TMT’s original price tag was $1.4 billion.

Over the course of construction, TMT officials expect to have hundreds of workers on site. Additional ongoing construction work will also be required.

“While this last new telescope will be constructed, five current telescopes will be decommissioned and their sites will be restored," said University of Hawaii President David Lassner, in a news conference Thursday.

“The Thirty Meter Telescope represents a pinnacle of innovation in human imagination. It will enable humankind to explore from Hawaii not only the stars and galaxies around us but to stretch the bounds of discovery farther back in our universe than ever before."

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