Context: 2020 Physics Nobel Laureate Prof. Andrea Ghez had worked closely with Indian astronomers on the design of back-end instruments and possible science prospects of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project.

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  • Prof. Ghez’s remarkable contribution in the discovery of a super massive compact object at the center of our Galaxy along with Prof. Roger Penrose and Prof. Reinhard Genzel won the Nobel prize in physics.

  • She was also part of the team working towards evaluating possible front-line science cases and instrumentation for TMT utilizing associated front-line cutting edge technologies like adaptive optics.

The Thirty-meter telescope (TMT) project 

  • It is an international partnership between CalTech, Universities of California, Canada, Japan, China, and India.
  • The Thirty Meter Telescope is being designed and developed by the TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO). 
  • India has committed 10% of the project’s resources and Indian scientists are in turn guaranteed 10% of observation time on the TMT once it is ready.
  • Objectives: The Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) will become one of the world’s largest general-purpose observatories, allowing astronomers to study the outer reaches of the universe and study distant stars and exoplanets than much greater detail than is currently possible.
  • The proposed site for the TMT, atop the dormant Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii, is also a sacred location for the island’s native population. 
  • Protests: The native population have been protesting the telescope’s construction since 2014.