The next telescope planned for Mauna Kea will stand thirty meters high—three times the size of Keck, the largest telescope on the mountain now. It will provide astronomers with more light and more definition, two vital assets that will allow scientists to scrutinize everything they’re looking at now with far more precision: the planets, the stars, the dust clouds, the galaxies, the very distant universe. Everything will be clearer, closer, in sharper relief—less mysterious, more known. And given what’s already been detected on Mauna Kea, Kudritzki marvels at the prospect not just of what we’ll learn about other worlds, but of what we’ll learn about our own.
“We are making detections that indicate that our knowledge about not only the universe but the structure and nature of matter itself is incomplete,” he says and then he adds—half-shrugging, half-laughing and utterly enthused—“we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg” … if that.