Hawaii has moved a step closer to the construction of the world's largest telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea.
The state Board of Land and Natural Resources unanimously approved the plan Friday. A consortium of California and Canadian universities had applied for a permit to build the Thirty Meter Telescope on conservation land.
The board, however, also granted a request by opponents for a case hearing on the telescope.
Some Native Hawaiians say the construction would defile Mauna Kea's summit, which they consider sacred. Environmentalists also oppose the telescope, claiming that it would harm the rare wekiu bug.
The telescope would be able to observe planets that orbit stars other than the sun and enable astronomers to watch new planets and stars being formed.