To mark the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing, CSIRO – Australia's national science agency, will be celebrating with open days at its Parkes Radio Telescope on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July.

At 12.56pm on 21 July 1969 (AEST), mankind took its 'one giant leap' onto the Moon's surface and the incredible images were broadcast to 600 million people around the world.

While it was NASA's moment, it was Australia's too: sending astronauts to the Moon and sharing the momentous occasion couldn't have happened without the pivotal role Australia played.

The initial TV pictures from the Moon and Neil Armstrong's first steps on the lunar surface were broadcast through NASA’s Honeysuckle Creek tracking station near Canberra.

After a few minutes, the higher quality television signal received by CSIRO's Parkes Radio Telescope was relayed around the world.

On 20 and 21 July, you're invited to join CSIRO for the open days at 'The Dish' and take the rare opportunity to enjoy a tour inside the telescope.

As well as tours of the telescope, CSIRO will be offering plenty of fun-filled activities including the chance to drive the telescope to detect pulsars in real time.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to hear from representatives from the Australian Space Agency, as well as Australian-born NASA astronaut Dr Andrew Thomas, who will be in attendance thanks to support from the U.S. Embassy in Canberra.

"The Apollo 11 Moon landing inspired humanity to dream bigger and even imagine solving the impossible using science and technology," CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall said.

"This too is CSIRO's purpose, solutions from science and our science-driven national challenges and missions of today will inspire our children to solve the challenges of tomorrow, knowing no boundaries but their own imaginations, dreaming as big as space itself."

There will be a special treat for visitors on the Saturday evening, with a screening of the movie 'The Dish', to be introduced by one of the movie's stars – Roy Billing, who played the Mayor of Parkes in the movie.

CSIRO has also partnered with ABC Radio for a live broadcast during both days of the event, and Parkes Shire Council to ensure everyone visiting the open days has a fantastic visit to the region.

For more information about the open days visit www.csiro.au/apollo11

Download our high resolution multimedia package. . Further historical images and footage are also available on request.

We acknowledge the Wiradjuri people as the traditional owners of the CSIRO Parkes Observatory site.

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