Come to Parkes and Celebrate ‘One Giant Leap’ with CSIRO

The Parkes Radio Observatory will be holding a free open day weekend (July 2021) for the public to celebrate the moon landing fiftieth anniversary.

There will be opportunities for rare behind-the-scenes tours of ‘the Dish’. The weekend will feature astronomy talks by leading scientists, space trivia, science fun for kids, face painting, performances, live music and a display of 1960s vintage cars. Adelaide-born and former-NASA astronaut Dr Andy Thomas will be a special guest and will be speaking.

As the evening comes around, the Central West Astronomical Society will have telescopes available for stargazing. Following a gourmet dinner, a screening of The Dish will be shown at 7:00 pm. It will be introduced by iconic Australian actor Roy Billing, who played the Mayor of Parkes in the film.

Sunday will conclude with a live replay of the original moon landing telecast, in real time, starting at 12:56 pm.

The Parkes Radio Telescope played a crucial part in the Apollo 11 mission. The original footage was received by the tracking station in Honeysuckle Creek, near Canberra, and, after a few minutes, the responsibility was handed over to Parkes. The moon landing was watched by over 600 million people all over the world.

CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall was mesmerised by the milestone’s impact as a child. ‘The Apollo 11 moon landing inspired humanity to dream bigger and even imagine solving the impossible using science and technology,’ he said.

Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon
Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon in 1969.

ABC radio will be broadcasting the festivities for anyone who wants to listen in.

There will be regular free ‘Apollo Express’ bus trips from the town to the observatory. Parking and food and drink facilities will also be available.


CSIRO. (2019). Australia & Apollo 11. Retrieved from

CSIRO. (2019). Counting Sheep [Image]. Retrieved from

CSIRO. (2019). Visit The Dish – FREE open days at Parkes! Retrieved from

Kelleher, G. (2019). A walk in the Parkes. Retrieved from (2014). Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon in 1969 [Image]. Retrieved from

Warren, A. (2019). Join CSIRO to celebrate the Apollo 11 Moon landing at ‘The Dish’. Retrieved from

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