You Saw The Moon Landing Thanks To The Aussies!

On July 20 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had just landed on the moon when the mission planned for a five hour sleep period. Deciding that they wouldn’t catch many Zzz’s after such a triumphant mission goal, the pair began to prepare for their extra vehicular activity early. Originally, the mission called for the Goldstone tracking station in California to receive the pictures, however there was no moon in the sky – so Aussie engineers and scientists scrambled to lock on to the transmissions from the lunar surface.

The preferred station – Parkes in mid-west New South Wales – was the largest radio dish in the southern hemisphere, but unlike the movie The Dish, they didn’t attempt to lock onto the just rising moon… instead they deferred to the more southerly, but smaller station at Honeysuckle Creek. It was from here, for the first eight minutes, that the world watched as the first men on the moon walked. Eventually Parkes took over the receiving – and you can spot the moment on the historic recordings, when the picture becomes a lot clearer.

Today, we begin Talkin’ Science in 60 Seconds

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