FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 14, 2012
Education, Travel, Calendar Editors
Contact: Emelia.Cowans@naturalsciences.org 
Astronomy Days 2012: Manned Space Flight and the International Space Station
(Raleigh)—Ever wondered how humans live, work and play in outer space? Now that the space shuttle program is over, does that mean space exploration will cease? Have your children ever expressed an interest in becoming an astronaut? Are aliens real? If you’ve ever had questions about the cosmos, Astronomy Days at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh is where you need to be on Saturday, May 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 20 from noon to 5 p.m. Free.
NASA and the Raleigh Astronomy Club have partnered with the Museum to bring two days of educational stations, interactive exhibits, workshops and presentations on space. This year’s theme, Manned Space Flight and the International Space Station, takes a look at past shuttle missions and their role in planetary exploration. One major highlight at this year’s Astronomy Days is “Destination Station” on the second floor of the Main Museum. This NASA exhibit highlights activities performed on the International Space Station and potential impacts the station has on us here on Earth. Other highlights include an astronaut photo opportunity, where visitors can don a space suit and be photographed in front of the moon, courtesy of the Cary Space Camp. The Weightless Lumbees, a microgravity research team of students from UNC Pembroke who conduct scientific experiments about reduced gravity will also be on hand.
There’s lots to see outside of the Museum on Bicentennial Plaza as well! Kids can get inside a moon bounce, blast off bottle rockets and get their faces painted. They can also make crafts and learn how craters are formed using flour, cocoa powder and golf balls! Visitors can also see a “Moon Tree” at the Museum’s Prairie Ridge Ecostation for Wildlife and Learning off of Blue Ridge and Reedy Creek Roads. Five different types of seeds traveled to the moon aboard Apollo 14 in 1971 and were brought back to Earth to be planted all over the country. A sapling from one of those trees has been planted at Prairie Ridge.
Astronomy Days programming at the Main Museum and its new wing, the Nature Research Center are listed on the Astronomy Days event page .
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (11 W. Jones St.) and its new wing, the Nature Research Center (121 W. Jones St.) in downtown Raleigh documents and interpret the natural history of the state of North Carolina through exhibits, research, collections, publications and educational programming. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sun., noon-5 p.m. Admission is free. Visit the Museum on the Web at http://www.naturalsciences.org . The Museum is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman., Secretary.