ANU takes Canberrans to the Moon and back

NASA experts, leading researchers and space enthusiasts will converge on The Australian National University (ANU) this week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing.

To mark the incredible feat of space exploration and Canberra’s central role in it, ANU, in partnership with the ACT Government, is hosting five days of free public events and activities, kicking off this Wednesday as part of Canberra Moon Week.

ANU expert Dr Brad Tucker said Canberra Moon Week was “a celebration of all things space”.

“The Moon landing opened our eyes and minds to the Universe,” he said. “Now we are not only looking at going back to the Moon, but also Mars. This week, you’ll get to hear from the people doing it.   

“At Canberra Moon Week you’ll experience the wonders of space first-hand -- from what it’s like to be in space, take up residence in the international space station, and even touch things from space. 

“Highlights include stargazing at Mt Stromlo Observatory and a panel discussion on the past, present and future of space featuring Australian NASA astronaut Dr Andy Thomas and head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clarke.

“Those wanting to learn the difference between a cosmonaut and astronaut should get along to our space in the pub trivia night. You’ll also get to hear the sounds and quakes of the Moon and Mars at our extraterrestrial seismology ‘pop up talk’.

“I’m also really excited about Dr Andy Thomas’ space academy – aimed at kids and those young at heart who’ve always dreamed about heading into space to explore the vast unknown.”

Other events include:

  • A lecture by Dr Ray Norris from CSIRO and Western Sydney University on Indigenous astronomy and navigation;
  • Indigenous stargazing with ANU scholar Pete Swanton and fireside chats with Ngunnawal elder Wally Bell;
  • pop up talks on space technology, space piracy, space storytelling and space health;          
  • screenings of Apollo 11 and other classic space films.

Nobel prize-winning astrophysicist and ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said Canberra was a major player in Australia and the world’s space exploration and research.

“Canberra is a natural home for our past and future space efforts, and locals should be fiercely proud of the role our city plays in unlocking the Universe for all of us,” said Professor Schmidt.

“The first images from the Moon were beamed all around the world from Honeysuckle Creek, just outside of Canberra.

“And for decades the world’s growing space knowledge has been greatly advanced by the research and discoveries of ANU experts.

“This includes analysing the first rocks brought back to Earth from the Moon, capturing the fastest growing black hole in the Universe and helping prove Einstein’s theory of gravitational waves, work which won a Noble prize.

“Canberra Moon Week is a wonderful celebration of this extremely important work and exciting field of knowledge and I encourage everyone to come along and celebrate with us.”

See the full listing of ANU events at:

For media assistance, contact James Giggacher +61 413 665 143 or the ANU Media Team on +61 2 6125 7979 or at <>.

About The Australian National University

ANU is a world-leading university in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Our location points to our unique history, ties to the Australian Government and special standing as a resource for the Australian people.

Our focus on research as an asset, and an approach to education, ensures our graduates are in demand the world-over for their abilities to understand, and apply vision and creativity to addressing complex contemporary challenges.

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