Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Telescope Stalemate

More on the ongoing stalemate over the Hawaiian telescope in which UC is a partner. (Can a "stalemate" be ongoing?)

TMT cost is estimated to soar by a billion dollars

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Timothy Hurley, 3-17-20
via UCOP Daily News Clips of 3-18-20

The price tag of the stalled Thirty Meter Telescope has ballooned to $2.4 billion, while the final decision about where to build it might come within a few months. TMT Vice President Gordon Squires said Monday that the increase from the previously estimated $1.4 billion cost is due to the construction delay, as well as inflation and world market cost increases for some construction items...

According to a report on the meeting by The New York Times, Ed Stone, executive director of the TMT International Observatory (TIO), acknowledged disagreement among the project’s board of governors about where to build the telescope. Asked whether the partners are committed to the project, even if it it had to be moved from Mauna Kea to the La Palma backup site in the Canary Islands, Stone responded, “Each member would have to agree to go to La Palma.” He added, “We’re not there yet.”

Stone, an astrophysicist at Caltech, said the partners were hoping that new discussions and efforts in Hawaii, including the establishment of a proposed blue-ribbon reconciliation commission by the state Legislature, would lead to compromise by separating the dispute on Mauna Kea from broader conflicts. If a compromise fails to materialize, Stone said, “I’m sure the partners will agree to go to La Palma.” TMT project manager, Gary Sanders, told the committee that the project is “shovel-ready, just not shovel-accessible.”...

Full story at

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