NASA’s Destination Station is coming to Raleigh! On Friday, May 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will be able to explore NASA’s amazing Destination Station trailer. This mobile, multi-media exhibit immerses visitors in the story of NASA and the International Space Station, and features a touchable moon rock returned to Earth by the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. The Destination Station will be parked in front of the Museum’s Nature Research Center at 121 West Jones Street.
Inside the Museum, Astronaut Rex Walheim will talk about his NASA experience, including his role as a Mission Specialist on the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program. Debbie Wells, flight experiments project manager at the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), will talk about how she helps design scientific experiments that will work in Space.
12:30 and 1:30 pm
“An Astronaut’s Perspective: Life 240 Miles Above the Earth”
Rex Walheim, NASA
Learn about life in Space from someone who has been there! Join NASA Astronaut Rex Walheim as he talks about the experiences that led him from the Air Force to flying on the last ever shuttle mission.
1:00 and 2:00 pm
“Off the Earth, For the Earth: How the International Space Station Improves Everyday Life”
Debbie Wells, CASIS
Every day the International Space Station is working to improve life here on Earth from 240 miles above. Find out how!
A veteran of three space flights, Walheim has logged more than 36 days in Space, including more than 36 EVA hours in five spacewalks. Walheim served on the EVA crew of both STS-110 in 2002 and STS-122 in 2008. He was also a Mission Specialist on the crew of STS-135, a station cargo delivery mission, which was the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program. Currently, Walheim is Chief of the Exploration Branch of the Astronaut Office, where he works as the astronaut representative to the Orion Program.
When a professor, teacher or scientist suggests an experiment to run on the International Space Station, Wells’ job is to find a way to do that experiment in Space. She must choose a habitat for the experiment specimen — plants, fish, bacteria, etc. — which provides things that keep the specimen alive such as air, water, food, light, and warm or cool temperatures. She also has to train the astronauts how to run the experiment, and find a way to preserve the specimen before it returns to Earth's gravity.