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New Summer Space Camp On South Coast For Kids Set At Real Life Space Research Facility

Kids at Las Cumbres Observatory's "Camp Cosmos" paint planets they've created out of balloons and paper mache

You can hear the excitement in the voices of the kids. Camp Cosmos is a brand new summer space camp in Goleta.

While the idea of a space camp is nothing new, this one is very unique, because it’s taking place in a real space research center on the South Coast.

The more than two dozen children there are doing everything from learning about how to use telescopes, to making a model of an asteroid with dry ice.

12-year-old Angel Martinez of Santa Barbara, who’s one of the kids in the camp, says they’ve done everything from build robots to look at planets via telescope.

Out of a building in a Goleta industrial park, the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network operates 18 robotic telescopes across the globe. It’s the largest network of telescopes in the world. Todd Boroson, the President and Observatory Director of Las Cumbres Observatory, says they’re trying to get kids excited about space the same way many members of an older generation were during the space program’s early days in the 1960’s, and 1970’s.

While Las Cumbres has been involved in educational outreach programs, this is the first time they’ve offered a full-blown week-long summer camp experience. Edward Gomez is an astronomer who’s also Las Cumbres Educational Director, and the Director of Camps Cosmos. He says they’re giving kids a wide taste of science through hands-on experiments, and the chance to see what’s happening at the Goleta facility,

The camp is part of a series of events by Las Cumbres intended to open its doors to the community, to show people some of the global research being made possible through this Goleta based telescope network. Lorna Boyd, with Las Cumbres, says they also do community talks with researchers in an informal setting, as well as bringing in astronauts to talk.

Camp Cosmos had two week-long sessions in its inaugural year, and the hope is that the camp can become an annual event. The facility reaches researchers around the world, but can now also help educate kids here at home.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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