HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Maunakea Management Board approved a plan this week to decommission the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) on Mauna Kea.
CSO is the first of five summit observatories planned to be decommissioned to make way for the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.
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In November 2019, the University of Hawaii (UH) Board of Regents adopted a resolution directing UH leadership to strengthen its stewardship of Mauna Kea and to report back regularly on the progress of 11 action items. The first action item of the resolution is the decommissioning of CSO and the UH Hilo Hōkū Keʻa teaching telescope.
The decommissioning of both telescopes was tentatively scheduled to be completed by 2023. The deconstruction and site restoration work of the CSO could be completed earlier. UH reported that the financial responsibility rests fully with Caltech, which would include the dome removal, outbuildings and related infrastructure, as well as the site restoration.
The decommissioning plan that was presented in March remains the same. The cost of total removal and full site restoration is approximately $4 million.
The Board voted unanimously on Monday to approve the draft assessment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.