Out to the south-west of Canberra in the Tidbinbilla area is the Australian capital’s contribution to space science. A series of massive dishes sit outside the main complex building, monitoring what’s going on in numerous space missions.
The complex is owned by NASA but run by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. It’s one of just three such hubs in the NASA network – the others are in Goldstone, California and Madrid. It opened in 1965, with the aim of supporting the Apollo Space programme, and has been communicating with satellites, probes and manned space missions ever since.
Inside, there’s a free museum of sorts that goes into the history of space exploration and the role that the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex has played in it. On show are rovers that have investigated the surface of Mars, images sent from distant probes, space suits and the freeze-dried food that astronauts use.