The Hawaiian Board of Land and Natural Resources announced on Thursday that it had granted a land permit for Thirty Meter Telescope, which is a next generation observatory being built close to the summit of Mauna Kea. With the grant of this Conservation District Use Permit, the Thirty Meter Telescope is now one step closer to being constructed. The permit comes with certain conditions so as to ensure protection of sensitive environments in Hawaii. Construction plans need a final approval from Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. Construction ground is expected to be prepared by the end of this year, whereas start date for construction is pegged for April next year.
If the work starts on schedule and there are no setbacks along the way, this next generation observatory will begin scientific operations in 2021. The Thirty Meter Telescope is a project on which a number of universities and institutions have collaborated upon. It is said to have nine times the coverage area and three times the sharpness of any such telescope, and will be able to track extrasolar planets and stars throughout the Milky way and those in neighboring galaxies.