Museum of Natural Sciences hosts NASA’S Destination Station, astronaut Rex Walheim

For immediate release ‐ April 29, 2016

Contact: Jon Pishney, 919.707.8083. Images available upon request

RALEIGH — 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 Driven to Explore 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 Driven to Explore exhibit 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.

Presentation Schedule

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.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (11 W. Jones St. and 121 W. Jones St.) in downtown Raleigh is an active research institution that engages visitors of every age and stage of learning in the wonders of science and the natural world, drawing them into the intriguing fields of study that are critical to the future of North Carolina. Hours: Mon.- Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sun., noon-5 p.m. Visit the Museum online at Emlyn Koster, PhD, Museum Director; Susan Kluttz, Secretary, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; Pat McCrory, Governor.

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development. NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit

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