Indian delegation visits Hawaii to discuss progress of Thirty Meter Telescope

New Delhi: An Indian delegation led by Secretary Department of Science and Technology (DST) Professor Abhay Karandikar visited Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA and discussed challenges in the progress of Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project and ways to overcome them.

Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is a 30-meter diameter primary mirror optical and infrared telescope being established at Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA. India is a Founder-Member Partner in this project which aims to open new windows to the universe through optical and infrared astronomy. Indian participation in this project was approved by Union Cabinet in 2014.

A five-member Indian Delegation led by Prof. Abhay Karandikar met with Prof. Henry Yang, Chairman, Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) International Observatory (TIO) Board, Prof. Robert Kirshner, Executive Director, TIO and TMT Project Managers at Hawaii on 9th January 2024.

The discussions centered on TMT’s present status, particularly regarding Mauna Kea site, start of civil construction, present funding situation, progress made so far towards in-kind deliverables for the project and expected timelines in the present scenario.

Separate meetings were also held with Mr. Scott Saiki, Speaker of the House, Hawaii State Legislature, Mr. John Komeiji, Chairman, Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority, Mr. Mitch Roth, Mayor Hawaii County, Ms. Kaiu Kimura, native Hawaiian and Executive Director of Imiloa Astronomy Center, Mr. Toby Taniguchi, President of KTA Superstores, Mr. Pua Ishibashi, native Hawaiian and Sate of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Dr. Kimo Alameda, native Hawaiian and Hawaii County Mayoral candidate 2024.

The issues discussed included initiation of process for inclusion of native Hawaiians in decision-making, way forward for the project in the present circumstances.

Indian delegation was apprised on each aspect of the project, inclusion of native Hawaiians, funding availability and prospects, civil construction of the facility as well as in-kind deliverables developmental activities for establishing the TMT.

Department of Science and TechnologyHawaii Department of Land and Natural ResourcesInternational ObservatoryMauna KeaPIBThirty Meter Telescope