After months of back-breaking work and relentless fundraising, the committee of the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum can breathe a sigh of relief following the success of Saturday’s grand opening.
The attention was on Carnarvon as the second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, cut the ribbon.
“I think we are preparing for the giant leap,” Dr Aldrin said in his speech at the opening.
As part of the special day, Dr Aldrin placed his hands in concrete to leave a lasting memory of his visit to the museum.
He presented Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum chairman Phil Youd with a book titled One Small Step to display.
Mr Youd said he was delighted with the opening and he was proud with what the committee and museum volunteers had done to ensure the attraction was ready in time for Dr Aldrin’s momentous visit.
“This is just phase one of our journey and phase two is just over the fence there,” Mr Youd said, referring to the hopeful relocation of the museum 100m to the north of the current site.
WA chief scientist Lyn Beazley was the host for the morning and she spoke about how the State has had a long connection with science.
“Western Australia has a very proud history in space,” she said.
Professor Beazley said Aboriginal people had used the stars to navigate the land and tell the seasons before European settlement.
“Just imagine us trying to cope without a GPS, it’s inspiring,” she said.
Professor Beazley said WA would again be put on the science map by being chosen to co-host the Square Kilometre Array project in Murchison, the Shire next to Shark Bay.
“This is arguably one of the biggest projects to be undertaken in the sciences,” she said.
“We will be able to better understand the evolution of the universe.”
The opening ceremony also included the unveiling of an Engineering Heritage International Marker by Engineers Australia Professor Mark Bush.
He said the marker disc was the first of its kind and recognised the collaboration between the United States and Australia to develop and operate the Carnarvon Tracking Station.
“The story of NASA and Carnarvon is one of technological and engineering achievements of the highest order, which includes landing men on the moon and returning them safely,” he said.