For weeks, the astronomers, technicians and support staff working on Mauna Kea watched the protesters.
Native Hawaiians and others opposed to the massive Thirty Meter Telescope gathered near the 9,000-foot mark, their encampment near Hale Pohaku, the small campus where observatory workers stay when they’re not at the summit. In March, the protesters blocked the summit road, stopping construction vehicles. Then, on April 2, observatory workers watched in shock as 12 were arrested.
Doug Simons, director of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, and a 30-year veteran of Mauna Kea observatories, says the moment was a wake-up call for everyone on the mountain. “I realized things have fundamentally changed with Hawaii astronomy,” he says.
Read the rest of my story for Hawaii Business magazine on the future of Hawaii astronomy here.