Space: The Final Frontier   Leave a comment

Saturday, 8 March, 2014

As you know by now, I’m well into the Apollo moon missions and this interest has be heightened even more by the knowledge that Canberra and its surrounding regions played an important part in the telling of the story. I’ve been to Orroral and Honeysuckle Creek, both important tracking and communications stations during the Apollo missions and I’ve also been to the NASA Deep Space Exploration Station at Tidbinbilla that has taken over their tasks in recent years. So this afternoon, after exploits with the balloons, we took a drive down the Cotter Road towards the space station.

On the way we stopped at the Cotter Dam project and the picnic area/reserve that has been developed at the foot of the dam wall. Here we discovered how all the water for the Canberra area in managed by not just this massive reservoir, but by the four or five others that surround the ACT.

Up at the Deep Space Exploration Station we took a look around the space museum that has all manner of things from space travel over the years, from the food early astronauts eat, to cameras and pieces of equipment used in actual Apollo missions and even a piece of real moon rock brought back by one of the missions. Near the back on the display is a window which looks out over the station and gives people a great view of the 70 metre dish that is used to communicate with all manner of probes, spacecraft and the like that have been flying around our universe for years. Above this window is a large video screen which gives some information that I’ve never fully understood, until today! As one of the station staff was on hand to tell us that each line of information on the screen tells us what the dish is tracking, for how long and what the particular craft is doing. In fact, he said, we were very lucky as the dish was tracking some near earth spacecraft and as such should be moving fairly quickly in order to keep track.

So, what better excuse than to nip into the Space Cafe (Yes it’s really called that) buy a coffee, a piece of cake and sit down outside on the balcony watching the dish do its stuff. On the way out I decided to complete the circular tour of Canberra which bought us past the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, which I’ve not been too for ages. Mmmm, I can see a plan developing….


Posted March 8, 2014 by yermandownunder in Out and about, Travels

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