Protesters trying to stop construction of a giant telescope atop Hawaii’s tallest mountain were visited by The Rock last week. This week, Aquaman stopped by.
Actor Jason Momoa, who has born in Hawaii, visited the hundreds of demonstrators encamped at the base of Mauna Kea on the Big Island on Wednesday.
“I’m so very honored to be here … to bring my children and all my (family) here,” he said, reported CNN affiliate KGMB/KHNL. “There’s one thing that’s not gonna happen. That telescope’s not being built here.”
Momoa, best known for playing comic book superhero Aquaman in the movies, was welcomed with a ceremony complete with hula dances and chanting.
Some Native Hawaiians consider mountain sacred
Groups opposed to construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope have blocked a road leading to the top of Mauna Kea for weeks to keep trucks from bringing heavy equipment up the mountain. Mauna Kea — which rises more than 13,000 feet above sea level and is already home to a number of telescopes — is considered sacred ground by some Native Hawaiians.
Scientists covet the mountain because the dark skies at its summit make for perfect space watching.
Mauna Kea is already home to 13 observatories.
“The summit of Mauna Kea may, in fact, be the darkest site anywhere in the world … which of course means you can see deeper into space,” said Doug Simons, executive director at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.
Opposition to the $1.4 billion telescope goes back years. Construction was set to begin in 2015 but stalled amid protests. Last week a judge denied a request for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented the construction.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige also said the state had extended the permit which would allow the Thirty-Meter Telescope to start construction for two more years.
Protesters got support from The Rock
Dwayne Johnson made a surprise visit to the Mauna Kea camp late last month to lend his support. Johnson, the actor and former wrestler nicknamed The Rock, lived in Hawaii as a child. He offered to help with talks between the state and protesters, KGMB/KHNL reported.
Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, third from right, walks with telescope protesters during his visit to the base of Mauna Kea.
Grammy-winning singer Bruno Mars, who was born on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, also showed his support for the demonstrators in an Instagram post. It featured a picture of some of the older Mauna Kea protesters with the message “I love you Hawaii, and I’m with you” and the hashtag #protectmaunakea.