Ever since I have read that China is building a high altitude observatory, I was very jealous. Being built at Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China, it is designed to detect cosmic rays. I envy the pace at which China was developing its next generation of tools for scientific and space exploration. It only made me wonder why India has not much thought about it.
Given that we are already advanced in Space exploration, but China is catching up and fast. The little Indian heart that I have, does not let me believe that India should be left behind, by none other than China to say the least. So, when I read about the TMT eyeing a place in India – I want to say snap it up while it is available.
TMT or the Thirty Meter Telescope project is a not for Profit organization, which is working to get a giant, 30 meter telescope installed to observe the universe.
For India to get this project is not easy as it sounds. Ladakh in India is only one of the places that TMT board thinks can be a candidate if their current finalized location in Mauna Kea, Hawaii gets required approvals. The Thirty Meter Telescope project’s permit was vacated by the Supreme Court of Hawaii due to observed irregularities in providing the permit.
An article at Pacific Business News state “The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance had sued the state BLNR and University of Hawaii at Hilo challenging the conservation district use permit issued in 2013, claiming due process was violated when the permit was issued before their contested case hearing could be held.”
This means that the land where project had already begun the preliminary construction phase will be out of bounds for this project. The team has raised a concern, however has already applied for a permit again and wait till early 2017 to receive a revised permit.
Apparently, the mountain of Mauna Kea is the best place for this massive telescope to be hosted. It’s location helps to get more clear picture about the universe we live in and find out more about our origins. In case the land is not available (due to the belief that it is sacred), that is when the team leading this project will decide on an alternative location.
The news itself is not pleasant, but in the hindsight, if the project lands up in India, we should go for it. We are already helping them with the software required, and many other small parts that will constitute the world’s largest telescope. So it will be huge to land this deal.
Overview to TMT
TMT Overview from Thirty Meter Telescope on Vimeo. Images from TMT website.