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Should mountaintops be developed?

 
 
Reply Wed 31 Oct, 2018 11:19 am
It seems that some people have protested plans to build a giant telescope atop a Hawaiian mountain and the court has rejected their protest.
https://www.foxnews.com/science/hawaii-supreme-court-upholds-permit-for-controversial-giant-telescope

Personally, I find that it ruins mountains to develop them and add roads and motorized traffic. Why should mountains be protected and preserved as natural sanctuaries free of development and motorized traffic?

Aren't there enough (space) telescopes that building more on top of mountains is really just an attraction to lure tourism?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 649 • Replies: 26
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seac
 
  2  
Reply Wed 31 Oct, 2018 06:14 pm
@livinglava,
It is my understanding that the telescope is a specific use structure. It may have living quarters for the people using it, but not for tourists. In the name of science and benefit for humanity, I am all for it. We need such telescopes to detect asteroids that may come in our direction.
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Oct, 2018 06:41 pm
@seac,
seac wrote:

It is my understanding that the telescope is a specific use structure. It may have living quarters for the people using it, but not for tourists. In the name of science and benefit for humanity, I am all for it. We need such telescopes to detect asteroids that may come in our direction.

Even so, you're taking a mountain with traditional significance to people in its natural state and building a big building on top of it.

Detecting threatening meteors is just an excuse. The telescope will be rented to wealthy tourists. They will not come in droves, because it will be an expensive, elite experience to visit and/or stay in the telescope, but it will exclude people from hiking up it and using it in the traditional, undeveloped state.
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Thu 9 May, 2019 08:52 pm
livinglava wrote:
Aren't there enough (space) telescopes that building more on top of mountains is really just an attraction to lure tourism?
No.

livinglava wrote:
The telescope will be rented to wealthy tourists.
The telescope will be used to conduct science that would not be conducted if not for this telescope.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Thu 9 May, 2019 11:49 pm
@livinglava,
Quote:
Aren't there enough (space) telescopes that building more on top of mountains is really just an attraction to lure tourism?


Just to answer the science here.... this is a different type of telescope that will be able to see things that other telescopes can not. It has a very large aperture and will be able to detect very faint signals in a specialized set of frequencies.

This telescope has a real scientific value; it will advance science and provide data that isn't easily obtained with existing telescopes. Whether this outweighs the cost to the local community is an open question.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 May, 2019 09:52 am
@livinglava,
Do you have information about the telescope's planned use for tourism?
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 May, 2019 02:09 pm
@InfraBlue,
InfraBlue wrote:

Do you have information about the telescope's planned use for tourism?

Hawaii is a destination many astronomers, professional and amateur, would enjoy combining a visit with a (often tax deductible and/or funded professional visit) so such telescopes function as elite destinations for very wealthy and/or well-funded people to have an excuse to travel to Hawaii.

What do you think? That poor people will be using the telescope for free and sleeping in tents in the forest before leaving for home in dugout canoes? There is big business that goes along with such projects, at the expense of preserving the environment in a more pristine state.

If investors want to build more telescopes, why not put them orbit? The images and/or other data from an orbital telescope is better anyway because there is less interference from atmospheric or other gasses between the telescope and the astronomical specimen under study.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Fri 10 May, 2019 02:42 pm
@livinglava,
The advantages of Earth based telescopes are pretty clear.

1. The cost of very large heavy telescopes in space is prohibitive (launching thousands or tens of thousands of pounds into space is expensive).

2. If you need to repair and Earth based telescope, you can send a repairman in a van (rather than a highly trained astronaut on a space walk).

3. If you want to upgrade the lens on an Earth based telescope, it won't cost millions of dollars for a space shuttle flight).

Yes the atmosphere is an issue in favor of space based telescopes, but the impact of the atmosphere depends on the frequencies you are targeting.

This particular telescope is very large, very heavy. It is designed to target wavelengths for which the atmosphere doesnt have much effect.

Launching this telescope into space doesn't make much sense. It is far too expensive and an Earth based telescope will work just as well.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  2  
Reply Fri 10 May, 2019 03:39 pm
@livinglava,
So, your information about the telescope's planned use for tourism is your assertions based on speculation and assumptions. OK.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Fri 10 May, 2019 03:53 pm
@livinglava,
livinglava wrote:
What do you think? That poor people will be using the telescope for free and sleeping in tents in the forest before leaving for home in dugout canoes?

I think that the telescope will be used by professional scientists and that it will not be used by amateurs (either rich or poor) at all.

Could people with an astronomical interest drive by and get a look the telescope from the outside? Perhaps.
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 May, 2019 07:28 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

livinglava wrote:
What do you think? That poor people will be using the telescope for free and sleeping in tents in the forest before leaving for home in dugout canoes?

I think that the telescope will be used by professional scientists and that it will not be used by amateurs (either rich or poor) at all.

Could people with an astronomical interest drive by and get a look the telescope from the outside? Perhaps.

I think rich people and/or people with professional funding will go there and drive up to the telescope by car instead of hiking up there, and there will probably be rooms to sleep and a kitchen so people can stay there without driving back and forth to a hotel, or they will drive back and forth to a hotel and that will generate traffic through a sacred natural area.

Overall I think the people saying it is a desecration to a sacred natural site are correct. It is going to turn the area from being someplace natural you could maybe hike out to into being a paved/developed monument to technoscience.

As much as I appreciate science, it's better to do it non-invasively. What is wrong with putting telescopes in orbit, besides the fact it doesn't give people an excuse to take a 'scholarly' trip to Hawaii?
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 May, 2019 09:10 pm
@livinglava,
This telescope costs one and a half Billion (with a "B") dollars just to build on the ground. We can't afford to put one in space.

There will not be much for tourists to do besides look at the building from the outside. That's not likely to draw a lot of vacationers.
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2019 12:20 am
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c5/Comparison_optical_telescope_primary_mirrors.svg
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2019 07:36 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

This telescope costs one and a half Billion (with a "B") dollars just to build on the ground. We can't afford to put one in space.

Thanks for posting the floor plans of it. Now can you explain what the value is of the configuration of the telescope in question?

As far as high costs go, you should realize that costs are relative to what contractors and workers charge for their labor, materials, and services. People want to make a lot of money so they can afford all the expensive things that are available to buy in the world. Then, because they go out and buy them, the environment gets slowly destroyed/developed and other people make the money they spend so they can go out and do the same thing.

If people would build these elaborate telescopes, etc. without asking more than a poverty wage for their contribution, they would cost significantly less. However, there's still the problem of putting them in a sacred natural area and creating roads and traffic through the area to build and use the telescope. What is the benefit of such telescopes over what orbital telescopes can produce?

Quote:
There will not be much for tourists to do besides look at the building from the outside. That's not likely to draw a lot of vacationers.

It doesn't need to draw a big crowd to make a lot of money. They will just charge a ridiculous usage fee and rich donors will contribute large amounts of grant funding for high-status astronomers to visit the telescope. In other words, it will be a very elite place to go. You already said yourself they've got a half billion dollars just to build it. It's a business deal and often such business deals are well-funded because they establish precedents for developing previously-undeveloped areas. It's sort of like all the sleazy men betting on who can deflower a virgin because doing so paves the way to more sexual abuse for them all to enjoy.

Why not just leave these sacred natural areas sacred and try to restore more of the already-developed areas to a more pristine state. When they finally figure out how to develop an area without offending those who want to preserve sacred undeveloped natural areas, it might be possible to build such telescopes in a very non-intrusive and unobtrusive way, but I don't think we've mastered that skill quite yet.
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2019 07:58 am
@livinglava,
livinglava wrote:
Thanks for posting the floor plans of it.

Those aren't floor plans. Those are apertures.


livinglava wrote:
Now can you explain what the value is of the configuration of the telescope in question?

It sees dimmer objects at a greater distance and higher resolution.


livinglava wrote:
What is the benefit of such telescopes over what orbital telescopes can produce?

The fact that it's actually possible to build them is a pretty big advantage that ground-based versions have over space-based versions.


livinglava wrote:
It doesn't need to draw a big crowd to make a lot of money. They will just charge a ridiculous usage fee and rich donors will contribute large amounts of grant funding for high-status astronomers to visit the telescope. In other words, it will be a very elite place to go. You already said yourself they've got a half billion dollars just to build it.

One and a half billion.


livinglava wrote:
It's a business deal and often such business deals are well-funded because they establish precedents for developing previously-undeveloped areas.

This is not about making profits. This is about learning about the universe.


livinglava wrote:
Why not just leave these sacred natural areas sacred and try to restore more of the already-developed areas to a more pristine state.

Because we want to learn about the universe.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2019 08:04 am
@oralloy,
Oralloy has it exactly right, both about the science (bigger aperture) and about the purpose.

Oralloy wrote:
This is not about making profits. This is about learning about the universe.
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  0  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2019 09:15 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

It sees dimmer objects at a greater distance and higher resolution.

And that's impossible with orbital telescopes? Maybe they should just build a huge telescope on the moon, where there isn't any atmosphere (or sacred nature to ruin). It would take a long time, but I'm sure they could figure out a way to do it.

Quote:

The fact that it's actually possible to build them is a pretty big advantage that ground-based versions have over space-based versions.

That's not what I mean. What I mean is how do they see fainter, more distant objects except by gathering more light from the same area in the sky and concentrating it together to form a composite image? Why do all the mirrors/lenses have to be right next to each other to do that? Why can't they combine lots of orbital telescope images to form composite images of the same distant, faint objects and get images of equal quality?

Quote:

One and a half billion.

An excuse to move money around at the expense of sacred undeveloped nature and those who honor it.

Quote:

This is not about making profits. This is about learning about the universe.

It's a good line to convince people who can't critically evaluate a range of different methods for achieving comparable images.

Quote:

Because we want to learn about the universe.

Yes, we could also learn a lot about the universe by shaving away parts of living brains in a vast array of experiments to find out how brain function changes as the brain is amputated in various ways, but it would be unethical.
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2019 03:05 pm
@livinglava,
livinglava wrote:
And that's impossible with orbital telescopes?

Yes.


livinglava wrote:
Maybe they should just build a huge telescope on the moon,

Also impossible.


livinglava wrote:
What I mean is how do they see fainter, more distant objects except by gathering more light from the same area in the sky and concentrating it together to form a composite image?

More light from the larger aperture is indeed the key.


livinglava wrote:
Why do all the mirrors/lenses have to be right next to each other to do that? Why can't they combine lots of orbital telescope images to form composite images of the same distant, faint objects and get images of equal quality?

That might be computationally difficult at shorter wavelengths. Plus we don't have a bunch of orbital telescopes to combine images from.

Not to mention the difficulty of transferring that much data from an orbiting telescope. We'd have to send a manned mission up to change out a large bank of hard drives in every one of the telescopes every single time we took a picture.


livinglava wrote:
An excuse to move money around at the expense of sacred undeveloped nature and those who honor it.

No. This is how much it costs to build a telescope this utterly massive.


livinglava wrote:
It's a good line to convince people who can't critically evaluate a range of different methods for achieving comparable images.

No. It's just the truth.
livinglava
 
  0  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2019 03:34 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

livinglava wrote:
And that's impossible with orbital telescopes?

Yes.


livinglava wrote:
Maybe they should just build a huge telescope on the moon,

Also impossible.


livinglava wrote:
What I mean is how do they see fainter, more distant objects except by gathering more light from the same area in the sky and concentrating it together to form a composite image?

More light from the larger aperture is indeed the key.


livinglava wrote:
Why do all the mirrors/lenses have to be right next to each other to do that? Why can't they combine lots of orbital telescope images to form composite images of the same distant, faint objects and get images of equal quality?

That might be computationally difficult at shorter wavelengths. Plus we don't have a bunch of orbital telescopes to combine images from.

Not to mention the difficulty of transferring that much data from an orbiting telescope. We'd have to send a manned mission up to change out a large bank of hard drives in every one of the telescopes every single time we took a picture.


livinglava wrote:
An excuse to move money around at the expense of sacred undeveloped nature and those who honor it.

No. This is how much it costs to build a telescope this utterly massive.


livinglava wrote:
It's a good line to convince people who can't critically evaluate a range of different methods for achieving comparable images.

No. It's just the truth.

Assuming everything you say is valid, why not just build one or two telescopes on top of a couple mountains in the world and then if you want to build a bigger one, just replace one of those? Why is it necessary to build so many different telescopes on top of so many different mountains?

It is ruining pristine nature.
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2019 04:30 pm
@livinglava,
Having just one or two large telescopes for the entire world would limit the number of observations that we could make. There is a lot of science to be done.

But as it happens, three existing telescopes are being demolished to make way for this new one.

https://www.nature.com/news/hawaii-prunes-mauna-kea-telescope-hub-1.17688
http://www.hawaii.edu/news/2015/10/21/third-maunakea-observatory-set-for-decommissioning/
 

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