One small step for man, one giant leap… of astronomical proportions of fun to be had in the capital.
Canberra’s Honeysuckle Creek tracking station played a pivotal role in transmitting images of the Apollo 11 historic landing on the moon to the world 50 years ago. To get you in the space mood, we’ve pulled together six ways you can have a space encounter in the capital.
National Museum of Australia
A fragment of moon rock, a satellite tracking console and a 1969 lunch menu are among the intriguing objects on display as part of the National Museum of Australia’s Tracking Apollo: 50 years since the moon landing exhibit, open now. A panel discussion, led by author Andrew Tink with four of the original Apollo trackers, on 19 July will cast a spotlight on Canberra’s role in the Apollo missions and the moon landing 50 years ago.
Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
One Small Step Space Open Day will take place on 21 July at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex in Tidbinbilla. This is your chance to relive the moment of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon under the actual antenna dish that helped make that historic moment possible.
See The Moon at Questacon
So it’s not the actual moon, but it’s probably the best close up view you will ever see. The 7 metres in diameter Questacon exhibit is based on a high resolution photograph taken from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera.
Gaze at The Moon – designed by UK artist Luke Jerram – can be seen as part of your visit to Canberra’s popular science museum. Lay back in a beanbag and gaze at the moon. As part of the 50th moon landing anniversary, Questacon is celebrating with its Mid-Winter Nights event (10 to 13 July) where you can dance under the moon, stargaze, get creative with space crafts and more.
Questacon also wants to celebrate those who are turning 50 this year. If you’re born in 1969 you can enjoy free entry to Blast from the Past (18 July, 18+ only), an after-hours event screening the original footage of the moon landing in a 60s lounge room with 60s inspired food and 60s songs. It really will be a blast from the past in every way possible.
Arc Cinema screening films about the moon
The National Film and Sound Archive will celebrate the anniversary by screening moon related movies on 19 and 20 July in its fabulous building, formerly the Australian Institute of Anatomy. Four movies will screen including: Dark Side of the Moon, The Dish, In Case you Missed it: the Moon Landing and First Man.
Mount Stromlo Observatory stargazing
Rug up and venture out under the night sky to see moon in all its glory at Mount Stromlo Observatory. In conjunction with Canberra Astronomical Society & ANU, Mount Stromlo Observatory runs free public stargazing nights and lectures. Check out their Moon Week program (17-21 July) which includes astronomy nights and space bus tours. Come and see the rings of Saturn, the craters of the moon, and beautiful star clusters and nebulae. On the night attendees will be taken on a ‘tour of the universe’ with talks by NASA scientists and observations on several telescopes.
Moon Rock Trail
Take part at your own pace in the Canberra-wide Moon Rock Trail around the region. You can walk on the Moon – well an Earth-bound version of it anyway – at Mount Stromlo Observatory’s outdoor display which depicts the features of the surface of the Moon or touch a piece of moon rock at Geoscience Australia – the only lunar touchstone in the Southern Hemisphere.
Check out all the points of the Moon Rock Trail for yourself.