MAUNA KEA, Hawaii – A balloon was floated at the planned site of the Thirty Meter Telescope in the summit area of Mauna Kea during a site visit on Monday.
The purpose of the site visit was to allow Hearing Officer Riki May Amano and the participants in the contested case hearing see first-hand the location and observable impact of the TMT project.
At the request of the petitioners opposed to the project, Amano ordered either the TMT or the University of Hawaii-Hilo “to arrange for the illustration using a red helium balloon attached to a rope approximately 187 feet long.”
The caravan of vehicles drove through the TMT site without stopping. Media travelling with the group was allowed to step out of the car briefly to get record an image of the balloon.
This was the second time a helium balloon was used during a TMT site visit. The first happened during the contested case hearing in 2011. The Hawaii Supreme Court nullified that process after the state land board gave their approval before the contested case hearing was conducted. The high court vacated the permit for the TMT on Mauna Kea and sent the matter back to the land board, which ordered the second contested case hearing now underway.
Participant opposed to the TMT, Billy Freitas, shared his thoughts on the balloon afterwards.
We will have much more from this site visit at the tag: Mauna Kea Site Visit 2016