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Doctor Bacon

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The Dish

  - 1:41:03

The radio telescope at Parkes (Parkes Observatory), New South Wales, was used by NASA throughout the Apollo program to receive signals in the Southern Hemisphere, along with the NASA Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station near Canberra. In the days before the July 1969 space mission that marked humanity's first steps on the Moon, NASA was working with a group of Australian technicians who had agreed to engineer a space-to-Earth interface to carry the video and telemetry signals from the Lunar Lander Eagle on the Moon and relay them to the rest of the global audience, estimated then at some 600 million people. The dish antenna used had to be large, as the signals expected from the spacecraft were very weak and easily lost; NASA had to use the Parkes radio telescope, situated in the middle of an Australian sheep station. There were some background concerns at NASA about using the Parkes antenna, mainly technical, as the signals had to go via point-to-point microwave links to get re-transmitted globally. Based on a true story, The Dish takes a sometimes comical look at the differing cultural attitudes between Australia and the U.S. while revisiting one of the greatest events in history. It depicts the activities in a control room of a radio telescope doing a job it was not originally expected to do. The film depicts some animosity between the Australian staff and the NASA representative, but they come together as a team when one of the locals fails to properly service a backup generator, putting their part in the mission at risk. They apply all their science skills to re-acquire the signal and cover their mistake, so that everything works out in the end. The directors of the film portray, quite accurately, what is in essence a complex technical task, such as re-pointing the dish when it loses the signal's "lock" and deciding to use it when the wind whips up threatening to damage and even destroy the structure. The film dramatizes the team-work of a few technicians, who s


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Uploaded 2 months ago  

August 11th 2022  

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