swandives writes: It is rare for a piece of scientific equipment to hold a place in a nation’s heart. But ‘The Dish’ — the CSIRO's Parkes radio telescope — has in its 50 years come to come to mean a lot more to Australians that just a cool piece of technology. The 64-metre diameter parabolic dish opened on 31 October 1961 and is perhaps best known for its role in the 1969 moon landing. And on October 8-9, its doors will open to the public in celebration of its 50th anniversary. ‘The Dish’ is operated by CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS), which is also developing the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope in Western Australia. And it even has its place on the Big Screen, immortalised (if an inanimate object can be so described) in the 2000 movie, The Dish.