Friday, February 1, 2013

Tidbinbilla and Deep Space Complex

No trip to Australia is complete without a visit to see some Kangaroos, so we took Greg's mom and stepfather out to Tidbinbilla. Tidbinbilla is a large nature reserve and is located about 30 minutes south of Canberra. Extreme cuteness alert coming up- look at that little guy!

While it's a nature reserve, and thus all the animals are wild, they are fairly used to people coming around and taking pictures of them. Just a regular part of the day, really. However, we got a little too close to this one and he hopped away.

There are tons of hikes you can do. All of the major ones we definitely weren't up for, since we had Immy with us who still less than a month old at that time. We did do a couple of the little ones, though. We were particularly interested in the hike over to the lake to see the platypuses that live there. Everyone who has ever been here tells us that it is a guaranteed place to see them, and yet, somehow every time we go there- no platypuses. We're beginning to think they don't like us.

After Tidbinbilla, we stopped at the Canberra Deep Space Listening Complex which is right down the road. It's pretty serious, check out this sign.

Yes. Greg can already tell this place is awesome. Any place with giant planet models hanging from the ceiling is alright in his book.

That is a huge 70-meter dish. It's the largest of several dishes they have here, and they are in the process of building two more. This is one of three sites in the world (the others are in Spain and California) responsible for communications with every satellite and probe we currently have in deep space- Voyager, Cassini, everything. This is the place flying them. Awesome.

Australia has several large space complexes that it runs in conjunction with both national and international programs. Australia's location in the southern hemisphere makes it an ideal location to complement sites in the US and Europe allowing for 24/7 coverage. Additionally, it's a pretty empty country, without a large population emitting radio signals to muck with the dishes' reception.

Immy doesn't know it yet, but she is going to be visiting a lot of space and rocketship related places. And she will love ever minute of it.

We were there! Go NASA!

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