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Australian scientists light up telescope in rainbow colors for Mardi Gras

Australian scientists light up telescope in rainbow colors for Mardi Gras

Six dish antennas lit up in rainbow colors against a starry night sky.

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has lit up its famous Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope in rainbow colors for Pride.

The ASKAP is the world’s fastest survey radio telescope. Its 36 antennas are located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO), approximately 800km north of Perth.

Six of the 36 12-meter wide dish antennas had a rainbow makeover in time for Sydney Mardi Gras.

The location is ideal for listening to faint ‘whispers’ from space. Its low levels of radio-frequency interference and sophisticated on-site infrastructure are essential for exploring the origins of the universe.

LGBTI scientists marching at Mardi Gras

50 CSIRO staff will also march in the parade on 2 March. They will be holding a giant double helix (DNA), celebrating the organization’s commitment to diversity.

‘We really value the diversity of our people, and how they bring different perspectives to innovate and shape the future for everyone,’ Sarah Pearce said.

Pearce is Deputy Director of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS) and founded CASS’s Diversity Committee in 2014. She is an ally of the LGBTI community.

‘ASKAP is used by a diverse group of astronomers from right around the globe,’ she also said.

Moreover, the team of scientists commented on the decision to take part in the parade.

‘It is through our people and their diverse culture that CSIRO can imagine, invent, and innovate solutions to Australia’s greatest challenges,’ CSIRO scientists wrote on their blog.

‘Diversity is in our DNA, and our LGBTQI+ community is part of that DNA. In fact, research from the Diversity Council Australia says people who work in an inclusive team are nine times more likely to innovate, and ten times more likely to be highly effective than workers in non-inclusive teams,’ the post also read.

They furthermore added: ‘We want people to bring their whole selves to work, to create a healthier, happier workplace where people are truly empowered and free to innovate and shape the future.’

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