Considered sacred by locals and scientists alike, the pristine peaks of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea have proven contentious. Given its high altitude and excellent air flow, Mauna Kea is considered one of the world’s finest astronomical observation sites and as such thirteen massive telescopes have been constructed by eleven different countries. To local Hawaiians, though, the much-revered volcanic peaks were reserved solely for the eyes of high-ranking tribal chiefs. Naturally, the tension between scientific research and cultural tradition in the region has been widespread, pernicious and persistent.
February 18, 2013