Sign the petition: Keep Mauna Kea a sacred ground -- move the construction of the TMT. Sign here:
"It's kind of the umbilical cord to earth," he says of Mauna Kea, adding, "They call it the belly button, too. That's like our birth place. You can imagine that in the middle of the ocean. That's how our islands were formed. So how can that not be sacred?"
Like the protests at Standing Rock over the Dakota Access Pipeline, the battle over Mauna Kea sees itself as part of a larger struggle over colonialism and indigenous rights. Astronomers feel caught in the middle.
Mauna Kea is one of the most sacred mountains to the Hawaiian people. Scientists and investors are working to build a Thirty Meter Telescope atop it. But many Hawaiians haven't consented to the construction. We spoke to frontline kia'i (protectors) about why they're standing.
To image a black hole they needed half a ton of hard drives containing five petabytes of data. The fastest way to transfer that data? Airplane. An airplane data transfer from Mauna Kea to Massachusetts would have a data rate of roughly 14GB per second.