Just outside of Canberra, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is our link to outer space. Owned by NASA and managed by CSIRO, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex supports over 45 missions, including the Mars Rovers, Voyager Missions, and the Messenger mission to Mercury. It’s one of three such ground stations in the NASA network, and is integral to the success of NASA’s missions into space.
It’s almost surprising then, that such a highly important complex is open to the public. The Canberra Space Centre is a building within the complex dedicated solely for the pleasure of the public.
Colorful, interactive displays let you see the latest images of our solar system and the galaxy beyond it, see a piece of the moon over 3.8 billion years old and check out models of spacecraft, and parts of the real things. Visitors can also try to imagine eating space food for months on end with a comprehensive display of the foods astronauts eat. A hands-on trip around our Solar System is bound to be a hit with the kids, and the Moon Rock Café is a great place to sit down with a cup of coffee and let the kids run wild, though we promise that adults will find the museum just as interesting.
Open 9am to 5pm daily and with free entry, the CSC aims to inform visitors of the role that Australia plays in the exploration of space. The best way to visit the complex from Canberra, 45 minutes away by car, is to have your own transport. The scenery along the way is beautiful as you wind through the Tidbinbilla Valley past farmland. Do be careful on the drive in as wildlife such as kangaroos, wombats, and emus are often seen crossing the road—fantastic for a photo opportunity, but only if you don’t run into them.