Thirty Metre Telescope
TMT is an international project being funded by scientific organisations of Canada, China, India, Japan and USA. In India the responsibility for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project is of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). TMT has become the source of controversy over its planned location on Mauna Kea in the US state of Hawaii. Construction of the TMT on land which is sacred to Native Hawaiian culture has stirred the pot in recent times.
For choosing the site for the TMT, a site suitability analysis was done. The criteria for site suitability for the TMT were water vapour in the atmosphere, atmospheric turbulence and number of cloud-free nights in a year; infrastructure and logistics. While Mauna Kea, Hawaii is the preferred choice for the TMT project, given the large investments that have already been made and committed, the project is also looking at alternate sites both in the northern and southern hemispheres. Hanle, Ladakh is one of the sites being evaluated for hosting the telescope. Hanle being the protected area in the state of J&K, the project requires clearances from State and Central agencies such as environmental, defence, external affairs and home affairs.
TMT will enable scientists to study fainter objects far away from us in the Universe, which gives information about early stages of evolution of the Universe. Also, it will give us finer details of not-so-far-away objects like undiscovered planets and other objects in the Solar System and planets around other stars. TMT being the largest optical and infrared telescope in the northern hemisphere will enable several discoveries which will surely inspire future generations. Project will also provide state-of-the-art high end technologies to the country, which would benefit a number of industries and R&D centers in the country.