CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall joins 50 year celebration since Australia helped send images of humankinds's first steps on the Moon celebrating at the Parkes Observatory.

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I would like to begin by acknowledging the Wiradjuri people as the Traditional Owners of the land that we're meeting on today, and pay my respect to their Elders past and present.

It's so good to see so many people here tonight and around Parkes today. It's not everyday you get to watch a movie under the stars, sitting right next to "the dish". I am here for the weekend with my family and have been enjoying all the activities.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the great work our staff here at Parkes have done for both science and to prepare for this weekend. There is a tremendous amount of time and effort that goes into planning an event like this, and I’d like to extend my gratitude to everyone involved both here and around CSIRO.

I still get chills every time I think about the Apollo 11 Moon landing and how significant that was for all of us. To think 50 years ago – The Parkes radio telescope (point to the dish) along with NASA's Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station near Canberra and Goldstone Observatory in California recorded humankinds first steps on the Moon (can point/look up to the Moon).

As they say in the movie – it was sciences chance to be daring…and daring it was. It sometimes takes something as monumental as the Moon landing to remind us of the greater possibilities that lie somewhere out there beyond the stars.

We now have our own Australian Space Agency, and with the USA declaring a mission to return to the Moon and plans for crewed missions to Mars on the horizon, there are plenty of opportunities for Australia to once again play a key role. We are daring once again to make the 'impossible' possible.

As you look up at the movie screen tonight, and our iconic dish, look a little further to the stars and realise that sitting here in Australia you are actually on top of the world, looking at the center of the galaxy – something you simply can't do from anywhere in the northern hemisphere. Share that idea with your children because then they won't feel quite so far away from the rest of the world, but rather right in the middle of the action.

I hope you all enjoy the movie here tonight and the activities that have been planned around Parkes.

I would like to now introduce you to the Mayor of Parkes.

[ends]

Learn more about CSIRO’s role in Apollo 11.

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