The University of Arizona's telescope project on Mount Graham has been controversial from the start, roughly two decades ago.

While UA scientists have pushed what they call a first-class observatory, some members of the nearby San Carlos Apache tribe have said the scopes desecrate a holy site.

Environmentalists, meanwhile, remain outraged that the UA successfully lobbied Congress to exempt the project from the Endangered Species Act despite the fact that it is in the habitat of the endangered red squirrel. Like their allies in the Apache tribe, they have proven to be a tenacious foe, creating long delays and financially monkey-wrenching the project with repeated legal challenges and pressure on would-be financial partners.

As reporter Stuart Alan Becker reveals in our cover story beginning on page 16, the struggle over Mount Graham is still far from over. But science is persistent, and the human quest for knowledge is likely to prevail, for better or worse.

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