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The Mount McCaber Space Science Institute

Other Facilities at Mt. McCaber - Healthy Body : Healthy Science

In order to facilitate the vital scientific work of its small, but dedicated, staff, the MMSSI maintains a number of other world-class facilities vital to its research programmes.

Staff Canteen

Although the Mt. McCaber Space Science Institute's facilities are amongst the finest to be found in any government-operated astronomical observatory in the Highlands it has to be admitted that the catering facilities offered by the Institute's staff canteen can be legitimately described as "disappointing". In the Institute's defence this state of affairs is largely due to the absence of a staff canteen. There is, however, a coin-operated vending machine in the foyer, offering a range of reasonably priced fizzy drinks and chocolate bars, many of which represent products and, indeed, brand names, which have not been seen in the outside world for decades.

Swimming Pool

Connected to the Gym by an underground passage is an Olympic-sized swimming pool, complete with diving boards and a flume. This is available for staff to use in their breaks, after work or at any other time.

On special occasions, such as summer holidays and village fairs, carefully screened groups of locals orphans are allowed into the Observatory grounds to peer at the pool through the window.

Croquet Lawn

The importance of a functional croquet lawn to any scientific institution is, of course, obvious and the Mount McCaber Space Science Institute's croquet lawn is generally held to be the finest example of its kind to be found north of the Highland Line. Although, historically, there have been intermittent problems with destructive mole infestations these have largely been resolved using natural bio-control measures in an environmentally responsible manner. Whilst the deployment of heavily modified badgers was initially accidental, it has to be said that the moles have all vanished. As have the badgers. Along with the emergency generator. Still, the lawn is truly immaculate.


The MMSSI is passionate about maintaining the overall work / life balance of its valuable staff. An important aspect of this is keeping the staff fit and healthy as they never know when, for reasons quite logically connected with their routine observatory duties, they may be required to run a very long way rather fast.

The gym is located to the rear of the Observatory building. Presumably someone does know where the key is.