Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Our care packages have arrived!!

Hi Everyone!

The packages arrived to one of the destinations yesterday: Fort Bliss, Texas.  The soldiers there are in the middle of their 21 day quarantine after serving in Liberia. As you can see by the pictures, they were thrilled to receive the treats and letters sent by Maple families. In all, we sent 19 care packages last Thursday. Nine packages full of candy and letters went to Ft Bliss and the other packages are still on their way to service members working right now in Liberia.

On another note, I took a trip to the White Center Food Bank yesterday to deliver the canned goods and large boxes of cereal donated.  One hundred pounds.  I am astounded each year by both the generosity shown by our community and the gratitude shown by those on the receiving end.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Ms. V.

from LTC Michael Indovina:

Thank you so much for this great surprise from you and the children of Maple Elementary.

It was so nice to see the Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Marines read all the notes from the kids. All of us are very appreciative of the thoughts and act of kindness you and the kids did for us.

I was in awe that the team went for the letters just as much as the candy and other items. We posted the letters on the wall for all of us to read in the common area.

The pictures were sent earlier from my roommate. We will send more.

Thanks so much for letting me have the opportunity to talk with your kids via face time. It made my day! I hope they were able to learn more about what we are doing in Liberia.

You are a superstar for teaching the kids about this topic and providing them the awareness of such an important issue.

Every point counts to ensure we keep this virus away from the US and help the people that are sick in Liberia.

If there is anything we can do again please let me know.


LTC Indovina 

And another message from Maj Stamm!

Dear Ms. Ventura's Class,

I am one of the servicemembers who have just returned from Africa and are currently at Ft. Bliss, TX.  We received your packages the other day, and I just wanted to let you know how thankful we are.

Most of us have been away from home for several weeks, and we have to stay here for a total of 21 days so the doctors can make sure we aren't sick.  I can assure you, we aren't.  Well, homesick maybe, and we all just want to go home.  I want to go home to my basset hound, "Rosebud," who is so lazy she probably doesn't even notice I'm not there.  Seriously, the dog is LAZY (see attached photo).

The best part of the day is getting mail, especially when we get packages such as the ones you sent.  We have been eating the goodies like we never had candy before.  I'm eating some right now.

Please know how happy we are you thought of us.  Now, do your homework and get good grades.  If you do, then one day you can be like us if you want, traveling the world helping other people.  And get to wear camouflage pants.

Thank you again.

Maj. John T. Stamm

US Air Force Reserve

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rosetta meets Comet

Artist's depiction of the landing.

Today, the European Space Agency completed a mission they started ten years and four billion miles ago.  The spacecraft Rosetta landed a probe the size of a washing machine on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.  Since the comet is moving at about 24,000 miles an hour, scientists have said this mission is about as hard as "trying to land a fly on a speeding bullet."

A simulated picture of Rosetta launching the probe towards the comet.
On the journey to meet up with the comet, Rosetta circled the solar system several times, using the gravity of Earth and Mars to boost the spacecraft's speed to match the comet.  This video illustrates where Rosetta has been for the past ten years.

To secure the lander probe, harpoons will shoot into the comet's surface and anchor it.

Once the probe, named Philae, is securely attached to the comet, it will start transmitting video and scientific data about the comet's composition back to the command center in Germany.  It takes about seven hours for the data to travel at the speed of light from the comet back to Earth. For now, we have some awesome photos and simulations of Rosetta's approach to the comet.