The University of Hawaii says if construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) falls through, it could be at risk of losing billions of dollars in research money for the next few decades.

It's expected to receive those funds from the National Science Foundation, which has until the end of this year to decide where money should go for the next decade.

One of those places is the Institute for Astronomy -- one of the top three research programs at UH. But this could all be jeopardized if TMT remains at a standstill.

UH already brought in $430 million in research funds this year, but it hopes to move up the number to half a billion in the next three to four years.