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New ATST Telescope

July 9, 2009
Commentary contributed by Rhonda Glass · Kahului

It has been my understanding all along that the new ATST telescope will be constructed inside the area where the existing UH observatory and the military satellite facilities are located near the summit of Haleakala. Is this information incorrect?  If so, then I really don’t see why some individuals are so dead-set against it.

I completely understand and respect the Hawaiian people’s assertions that Haleakala has historical and spiritual significance within their culture, but the area in question has not been used by them as any sort of sacred site for years. Perhaps it would be different if the proposed solar telescope was being built on a totally different piece of land.

Personally, I think it is a great honor that our island was selected from among several others as the home for this amazing piece of technology! Yes, it will create some much-needed employment opportunities. Yes, it will draw visitors up there. Most of our visitors plan to visit the crater and the summit anyway. I, for one, truly hope that this project does not end up going the way of the Superferry. What a political circus that was—and what a shame that we must be without that wonderful interisland service. Let’s not let politics ruin this opportunity as well.



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