Beckley Composite Squadron cadets ages 12 to 19 are getting to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime groundbreaking scientific research study with NASA.
“For a long time NASA has been looking at the relationship between radio frequencies and solar eclipses, particularly how the ionosphere is affected by those things,” said Asst. Aerospace Officer Captain Amanda Zari.
So they decided, according to Zari — because one of Civil Air Patrols main objectives is aerospace, that this partnership made perfect sense.
“This is the first study that NASA has done in correlation between solar eclipses and very high frequency radios,” she said.
One of their own is most looking forward to the solar eclipse and the weather — and sharing his knowledge of emergency services.
“Using my leadership skills, teaching the cadets, having fun with them,” said senior master sergeant Caleb Eugene Schmidt.
First alerted about the chance to work with NASA on a mission, First Lieutenant Amanda Schmidt says she is always looking for her cadets to get involved with things.
“Where they can learn and explore and be inspired for future lives and careers,” the deputy commander of cadets said. “I passed it on to our A officer… got the ball rolling and insisted that we look into it.”
At the end of the day, Captain Zari says they were able to take a natural phenomenon like a solar eclipse and not only make it exciting for the cadets but tie in various scientific principles.
“We’re doing reporting, identification of different cloud cover, of interferences on a radio,” said the captain. “So as a teacher and as a member of the squadron, I’m so excited that the cadets get such a hands-on experience.”