After decades in limbo and a few more months of construction delay, the folks behind the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project have begun building the gargantuan device at last. The groundbreaking ceremony was held just this October 7th near the top of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano, six months later than the TMT organization originally intended when it got a land permit from the state's authorities in 2013. Since natives consider the summit of Mauna Kea (and the rest of the mountains in the region) as sacred (and since the sheer size of the observatory could affect the environment), the project's been met with resistance since its inception in the 90's. In fact, even the groundbreaking ceremony was moved back a few hours, because protesters blocked the road up the volcano during the event.
The Thirty Meter Telescope will measure 100 feet across, will be composed of 492 hexagonal mirrors and will deliver 10 times the resolution NASA's Hubble telescope is capable of. It'll undoubtedly be an astronomer's extremely powerful ally in deciphering the mysteries of the universe when it becomes operational. If construction isn't delayed any further, we could use it as soon as 2022 to see really close views of our neighboring planets and even distant galaxies billions of light years away.