As part of NASA’s Deep Space Network, the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, is one of only three tracking facilities in the world which provides two-way radio contact with all those unmanned spacecraft which are out there exploring space. It is a ten minute drive from the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and it has a cafe, two of the reasons why we stopped there on Sunday afternoon.
Of course, it also appealed to our inner childhood like for all things outer space related, so it seemed a good place to stop on our way back to town. There is a small visitor centre with spacesuits, astronaut food, a replica of the Mars Exploration Rover and other models and displays.
The largest steerable radio antenna in the Southern Hemisphere is here, along with another antenna which received and relayed to the watching world, the first images of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.
For those of you who saw the 2000 film, The Dish, this is not the setting for that film, that station now being closed. It is kind of a fun place to stop off for a short while, it’s free, and open every day.
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