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Carroll squadron gets firsthand look at moon rocks

Terry holds moon rock out for audience viewing
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Lt. Col. Robert Terry, Maryland Wing's director of aerospace education, shows a sample of rock from the Earth that is similar to that found on the moon. He explained the difference in the formation of rock from the side of the moon that we view and from the 'dark' side of the moon.

Maryland Wing's director of aerospace education Terry speaks to members

9/14/2014––Civil Air Patrol, Maryland Wing’s director of aerospace education, Lt. Col. Robert Terry, visited the Carroll Composite Squadron on Sept. 3, 2014. Assisted by the squadron’s aerospace education officer, 1st Lt. John Hejna, Terry shared an overview of the origin of the moon and its composition. Cadets, seniors and guests were provided a historical briefing of the Apollo lunar missions and the many accomplishments made during the space programs.

Terry’s presentation was made even more appealing when everyone had the opportunity to view, firsthand, actual samples of moon rocks. Many were amazed with the facts that these rocks range in age from 3.16 billion years old to 4.5 billion years based on from where they were found on the moon’s surface and are considered priceless.

The cadets quickly realized that before they were born, the Apollo missions occurred and were significant to the space program. During these lunar missions of 1969 – 1972, 12 American astronauts walked on the moon and used a lunar roving vehicle to travel on its surface. Theses missions contributed greatly to the studies of soil mechanics, meteoroids, lunar ranging, magnetic fields and solar wind. Additionally, the Apollo astronauts brought back 842 pounds of lunar rock and soil for Earth’s scientists to study and evaluate.

The squadron and guests learned that lunar rocks are, in large part, made of the same common rock forming minerals as found on Earth, and have such names as olivine, pyroxene and plagioclase feldspar. Although these terms were new to many, some of the cadets showed that they were well-informed about the geological makeup of the moon and its origin in the solar system.

Lt. Col. Frank Jarosinski, squadron commander, commented, “It has to be an incredible feat to travel to moon and be able to return to Earth with scientific data and actual samples of a place outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. It is almost unbelievable. However, I remember the Apollo missions and the immense pride I had as a teen seeing these astronauts and mission vehicles. They were amazing! The space program of the 60’s and 70’s mesmerized the World. I appreciate Lt. Col. Terry’s visit and know that his presentation recounted for our cadets, seniors and guests the special contributions of the Apollo missions and the astronauts who took part in expanding our knowledge of the solar system.”

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 60,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 70 lives annually. Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 25,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. Performing missions for America for over 70 years, CAP will receive the Congressional Gold Medal in 2015 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit www.gocivilairpatrol.com, www.capvolunteernow.com and www.capgoldmedal.com for more information.

Nearly 1,600 CAP members serve in Maryland. Last year wing members flew 13 search and rescue missions. The wing was credited with five finds and one life saved. Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland. Members flew 2,106 hours in all mission categories. Volunteers contributed services estimated at 4.6 million dollars. For more information, contact the Maryland Wing at www.mdcap.org or follow the wing on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarylandWingCivilAirPatrol.

The Carroll Composite Squadron meets 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evenings at the Hilltop Assembly of God Church Hall at 30 North Cranberry Road in Westminster, Md. Prospective cadets, ages 12-18, and their parents are always welcome. Adults seeking mentoring opportunities are invited as well. For more information, email carrollcomposite@yahoo.com or visit www.carrollcap.org. You can also follow the squadron on Facebook at www.facebook.com/capcarrollcomposite.