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NASA road show rolls into Triangle this week

Posted May 1

NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock works with the Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer aboard the International Space Station.(Credit: NASA/JSC)

Astronauts and scientists will visit the Triangle next week to share the accomplishments and research opportunities aboard the International Space Station.

The road show is scheduled to make stops in Chapel Hill, Research Triangle Park (RTP), and Raleigh May 3-6.

Visitors can explore NASA’s Destination Station exhibit at each stop. The traveling multi-media exhibit showcases research opportunities, activities and life on board the International Space Station. Visitors also have the rare opportunity to touch a 3-billion-year-old moon rock returned to Earth by the last manned lunar mission, Apollo 17.

Veteran space station astronauts Doug Wheelock and Rex Walheim will share their stories about living and working in space over four space shuttle missions, a total of 214 days in space including a nearly six-month stay aboard the ISS.

Walheim has spent more than 36 hours of Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) outside the station. He put that experience to work serving as chief of the EVA branch of the astronaut office and working with NASA engineers to design procedures and computer displays on the ISS.

Wheelock helped integrate Russian and American hardware and software for the ISS while serving as Russian Liaison for the astronaut office. He has also trained in the NASA Extreme Environments Mission Operations (NEEMO) program spending 10 days undersea in the National Undersea Research Center’s Aquarius habitat.

Station scientists Tara Ruttley and John Love, and Center for Advancement of Science in Space’s (CASIS) Director of Commercial Innovation Cynthia Bouthot, Commercial Innovation Life Sciences Lead Jana Stoudamire, and Program Manager Debbie Wells also will describe how the ISS’s unique micro-gravity environment is used by companies to advance their research.

Tuesday, the Driven to Explore exhibit will be open to the public from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill.

Wednesday, the exhibit will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. 3:00 p.m. at the North Carolina Biotech Center at 15 TW Alexander Drive in RTP.

A RSVP-only industry day is also planned where NASA and CASIS representatives will discuss commercial research opportunities aboard station.

Thursday, the exhibit will be open to the public from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at The Frontier at 800 Park Office Drive in RTP. Station scientist Ruttley and astronaut Walheim will present at 6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., respectively.

Friday, the road show moves to the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. The Destination Station exhibit will be open to the public from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Jones Street, just outside the giant globe.

Inside the museum, Walheim will speak on his experiences in space and on the ground supporting the construction on operation of the ISS at 12:30 pm in the WRAL 3D Theater on the first floor of the Nature Exploration Center.

Wells will speak at 1:00 pm on the science being performed every day aboard station and how it improves life here on Earth. Walheim and Wells will speak again at 1:30 pm and 2:00 pm respectively in the Nature Research Center's Daily Planet theater. Seating is available on the first floor with overflow viewing on the second and third floors.

If you can’t sneak away on your lunch hour you can still follow Friday’s events. I will be taking over the WRAL Twitter and Instagram accounts, sharing Walheim and Wells talks and how commercial research is being extended 250 miles above RTP.


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