Mauna Kea thirty-meter-telescope hawaii protests battle tmt_00005826.jpg
Mauna Kea thirty-meter-telescope hawaii protests battle tmt_00005826.jpg
Now playing
03:15
Battle for sacred summit
Now playing
02:11
See the moon landing as they did 50 years ago
Google
Now playing
00:56
Google unveils stunning tribute for Apollo 11 engineer
NASA/Ames Research Center
Now playing
01:13
Rare NASA footage from 1969 shows search for lunar life
NASA/Nick Hague
Now playing
00:50
NASA astronaut captures stunning timelapse
Now playing
03:16
Hear them sing 'Strolling on the moon' while on the moon
Now playing
01:40
How space influenced decades of pop culture
Members of the Kennedy Space Center control room team rise from their consoles to see the liftoff of the Apollo 11 mission 16 July 1969.  AFP PHOTO/NASA (Photo by NASA / NASA / AFP)        (Photo credit should read NASA/AFP/Getty Images)
NASA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Members of the Kennedy Space Center control room team rise from their consoles to see the liftoff of the Apollo 11 mission 16 July 1969. AFP PHOTO/NASA (Photo by NASA / NASA / AFP) (Photo credit should read NASA/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:20
See Apollo Mission Control restored to look like it's 1969
Mae Carol Jemison is an American engineer, physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. Credit: NASA
NASA
Mae Carol Jemison is an American engineer, physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. Credit: NASA
Now playing
03:37
This is how being a dancer makes you a better astronaut
NASA
Now playing
00:53
Washington Monument lit up like Apollo mission rocket
CNN
Now playing
07:26
Meet the first tourist going to the moon
Now playing
07:06
These are the benefits of space exploration
Now playing
08:43
This is what life on Mars could be like
Now playing
07:41
These women are designing spacesuits of the future
Now playing
01:07
NASA plans to return to the moon by 2024
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces Blue Moon, a lunar landing vehicle for the Moon, during a Blue Origin event in Washington, DC, May 9, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces Blue Moon, a lunar landing vehicle for the Moon, during a Blue Origin event in Washington, DC, May 9, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:57
Jeff Bezos unveils his big plans for the moon
(CNN) —  

Hundreds of protesters have blocked a road leading up to a massive telescope atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain.

The blockage comes as construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope was set to begin on the mountain. Construction crews planned to haul heavy materials on the road up to the construction site Monday.

In a series of tweets, Hawaii Gov. David Ige said the Mauna Kea Access Road is closed “until further notice.” He urged drivers to “drive carefully and slow down,” when in the area.

No arrests were made Tuesday, when an estimated 200 people were at the intersection of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway and Mauna Kea Access Road, according to a statement from Hawaii’s Joint Information Center. But operations have been halted.

“Communication channels between the state and telescope project opponents remained open as preparations for construction continued,” the release said. “The Mauna Kea Observatories announced the withdrawal of all personnel from their telescope facilities this afternoon. They anticipate returning to normal operations as soon as the situation allows.”

For years, Hawaiian groups have opposed building the Thirty-Meter Telescope on top of Mauna Kea because they see the mountain as sacred. The project is expected to take until 2027.

Activist Kaho’okahi Kanuha told CNN affiliate KITV, “Money runs out; love doesn’t. The question is, how committed are they to this 10-year process?”

Similar tactics worked in 2015 when construction on the $1.4 billion telescope was previously supposed to begin.

The mountain is home to a number of telescopes already. But the protesters, who have set up tents and portable toilets, are determined to dig in and do whatever it takes to keep another one from going up.

A telescope is shown at the summit of Hawaii's Mauna Kea, on July 14.
Caleb Jones/AP
A telescope is shown at the summit of Hawaii's Mauna Kea, on July 14.

Mauna Kea is about as close as you can get to the heavens while having your feet planted on the ground.

It towers more than 6 miles above the seabed. Hawaiians consider the peak the most sacred ground in the entire Pacific. It’s a burial ground for native Hawaiians’ most revered ancestors, and believed to be a peak created by the gods as a place from which humans can ascend to heaven.

Mauna Kea’s height also makes it sacred to astronomers, who, after a five-year search, chose the site to build the most sophisticated telescope in the world.

CNN’s Madeline Holcombe contributed to this report.