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Out Of This World

During the Apollo lunar landing series, astronauts were trained on Mauna Kea and regarded the area as the most lunar­like that they had observed. (Apollo 11 was the spaceflight in which American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first to land on the Moon, on July 20, 1969.) Mauna Kea is also one of the few places on the Earth that is similar to what scientists currently know about the surface and soil make-up of Mars; it has color (a reddish-brown,) mineralogy, chemical composition, particle size, density and magnetic properties similar to the oxidized soil of Mars.

In 2011, ‘Curiosity’ was launched and eventually landed on Mars on August 5. 2012, carrying laboratory instruments to analyze samples of rocks, soil and atmosphere, and investigate whether Mars has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. “When NASA’s Curiosity rover began using its on-board instrument to analyze the chemical composition of the rocks and soil on Mars, the results bore a striking resemblance to those obtained during previous tests of the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano.”

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Humu‘ula Sheep Station

Historically, sheep-raising was one of the oldest introduced agricultural pursuits in Hawai‘i. Sheep were originally introduced to the Big Island by Capt. George Vancouver in

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Snow Play

In September 1830, “(T)he king (Kauikeaouli, Kamehameha III) set out with a party of more than a hundred, for an excursion further into the heart of the island, and an ascent to the summit of Mauna Kea. To watch over and instruct my young pupil, and to benefit my health, I accompanied him. The excursion occupied nearly five days, … In the course of this day’s journey, the youthful king on horseback, pursued, ran down, and caught a yearling wild bullock, for amusement and for a luncheon for his attendants. … The next day was occupied chiefly in ascending in a northerly direction … Having gained an elevation of about ten thousand feet, we halted and encamped for the night.”

“In the morning we proceeded slowly upwards till about noon, when we came to banks of snow, and a pond of water partly covered with ice. In his first contact with a snow bank, the juvenile king seemed highly delighted. He bounded and tumbled on it, grasped and handled and hastily examined pieces of it, then ran and offered a fragment of it in vain to his horse. He assisted in cutting out blocks of it, which were wrapped up and sent down as curiosities to the regent and other chiefs, at Waimea, some twenty-eight miles distant. These specimens of snow and ice, like what are found in the colder regions of the earth, excited their interest and gratified their curiosity, and pleased them much; not only by their novelty, but by the evidence thus given of a pleasant remembrance by the youthful king.” (Hiram Bingham)

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Mauna Kea Observatories

In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) undertook fencing, road building and visitor facilities on Mauna Kea. In 1943, construction of a road from Hilo to what would become the Pōhakuloa Training Area began. After the end of World War II, the Saddle Road, as it was called, was extended to Waimea, greatly improving access to the south side of Mauna Kea. In 1964, the first road to the summit, a “jeep road” was completed, and in July of that year, the Lunar and Planetary Station, located on the summit of Pu‘u Poli‘ahu was opened

Observatories are an ‘identified land use’ in the Conservation District. The Institute for Astronomy (IfA) was founded at the University of Hawai‘i (UH) in 1967 to manage the Haleakala Observatory on Maui and to guide the development of the Mauna Kea Observatories on Hawaiʻi Island. In 1968 Governor John A. Burns established the Mauna Kea Science Reserve. The astronomy precinct, where 13-existing telescopes are located, delineates the area of development of astronomy facilities, roads, and support infrastructure. The Onizuka Center for International Astronomy located at Hale Pōhaku has living facilities for up to 72 people working at the summit.

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Lake Waiau

Mauna Kea falls in the senior line genealogy. (Maly) Waiau is named for the mountain goddess, Waiau (Ka piko o Waiau), and home of the moʻo (water-form) goddess Moʻo-i-nanea. Lake Waiau, located at the 13,020-foot elevation, is on the Island of Hawaii, near the summit of Mauna Kea. Lake Waiau is the highest lake within the boundaries of the Pacific Ocean Basin.

In 1830, Hiram Bingham and Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III) ascended Mauna Kea and stopped at Lake Waiau – Bingham noted, “In the morning we proceeded slowly upwards till about noon, when we came to banks of snow, and a pond of water partly covered with ice. … He assisted in cutting out blocks of it, which were wrapped up and sent down as curiosities to the regent and other chiefs, at Waimea, some twenty-eight miles distant.”

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