Hawaiian officials have conditionally approved a comprehensive management plan for the volcanic peak of Mauna Kea, which researchers hope will pave the way for the construction of more telescopes atop the 4,200-metre summit. The University of Hawaii has a long-term lease on a 46-square-kilometre preserve, of which 2 square kilometres are used by 13 observatories.

Some native groups believe that the terrain is sacred and oppose its development. In 2006, a judge reversed a permit for additions to the twin 10-metre Keck telescopes, saying that a summit-wide plan was needed.

The management plan, approved on 9 April by the state's Board of Land and Natural Resources, outlines the role of a management authority set up by the university. Some telescopes previously proposed for the site have been cancelled, but two major projects — the Thirty Meter Telescope and Pan-STARRS, the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System — are pushing ahead.