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Researchers return to summit, Gabbard visits Mauna Kea and TMT opponents launch online push

Maui marchers make their way to UHMC.
Maui marchers make their way to UHMC.
Updated: Aug. 11, 2019 at 4:57 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nearly five weeks after leaving Mauna Kea’s summit, telescope workers rejoiced this weekend after a long-awaited return to the mountain.

This weekend, researchers say they were able to collect data for the first time since July 16 when they came down due to safety concerns.

Scientists with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope say last night was not the best viewing conditions, it was humid and cloudy, but they were still grateful to return to their observations.

“I think the word is relief. We’ve been off the mountain for quite a long time now,” said Andy Adamson, who works with the Gemini Telescope.

“We are eager to get into our major maintenance that we were about to start when this all blew up,” Adamson said.

Gemini Telescope officials say they plan to send up 15 to 20 personnel Monday.

The Mauna Kea Access Road remains blocked with people, tents and law enforcement.

Both the Maunakea Observatories and the people who call themselves protectors of the mountain say telescope vehicles have been allowed access since the governor withdrew his emergency proclamation for Mauna Kea on July 30.

The Maunakea Observatories said astronomers were not accessing the summit while the telescopes were not operating, after having evacuated four weeks ago.

The Maunakea Observatories decided to return after receiving assurances from the state that they will have easier access to the summit.

Meanwhile, opponents of TMT held a “world wide music session” called “Jam 4 Mauna Kea” on Sunday morning.

Thousands of activists gathered online and at locations around the world for the release of a new music video filmed at Mauna Kea.

At exactly 11 a.m., the video was released on Facebook featuring activists performing two songs.

Organizers asked online viewers to post their own live streams or videos of song performances to show solidarity for the cause.

Also on Sunday, Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard visited activists at Mauna Kea.

Gabbard said, “what is happening here is about so much more than just a telescope,” adding that it’s about maintaining sacred spaces.

Tulsi Gabbard LIVE on the road - Tulsi visits Mauna Kea - Pu`uhuluhulu, HI

Tulsi Gabbard LIVE on the road - Tulsi visits Mauna Kea - Pu`uhuluhulu, HI Tulsi is visits Mauna Kea. #KuKiaiMauna #KuKiaʻiMauna

Posted by Tulsi Gabbard on Sunday, August 11, 2019

On Saturday, thousands of people on Maui marched from the War Memorial Stadium to the University of Hawaii’s Maui Campus.

Kahookahi Kanuha, who has led the efforts to protect Mauna Kea, traveled to Maui to participate and speak to the marchers, calling on supporters to recognize the power of a unified people and to make the journey to Mauna Kea.

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