An astronaut, who is a North Carolina native, and researchers from Hampton, Virginia’s NASA Langley Research Center will help celebrate Astronomy Days this weekend at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.

Astronaut Christina Hammock Koch, who considers Jacksonville, North Carolina, as her hometown, is the keynote speaker with a presentation titled “A Path from North Carolina to NASA Astronaut and Beyond,” scheduled Saturday, Jan. 30, at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 31, at 2 p.m. Koch was selected in June 2013 as one of eight members of the 21st NASA astronaut class. She completed astronaut training in July 2015 and is now qualified for future assignment.

Koch is a graduate of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham as well as North Carolina State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Physics, and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering by 2002.

She also graduated from the NASA Academy program at Goddard Space Flight Center in 2001, then spent more than 10 years gaining experience both in space science instrument development and remote scientific field engineering.

Joining Koch in Raleigh will be half a dozen representatives from NASA Langley with six exhibits that will give visitors the chance to have some fun, while learning more about the solar system and beyond.

Participants will have the chance to calculate their weight on the moon, Jupiter, and other planets; create a solar system bookmark; check out a model of an inflatable spacecraft heat shield that could some day help land cargo or people on Mars; discover new facts about Mars; learn more about NASA’s plans to retrieve and redirect an asteroid and take home a NASA souvenir.

Visitors will also have opportunity to meet and greet NASA Langley’s Spacey Casey as he explores the museum both days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information about the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, go to:

For more about NASA’s Langley Research Center, visit: