Meteorite researcher

Prescott's 'Space Cowboy' has the largest meteorite collection in the world

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“I saw a big fireball when I was 13 years old from my parents' driveway in Bullhead City,” said Robert Ward, a planetary science field researcher.

That was all it took for Ward to be hooked on everything about meteorites.

“I’ve been pursuing meteorites for 28 years now and hunted them in every country except Antarctica,” said Ward.

We asked about Ward’s first meteorite find.

“First collection piece and still in the collection was from Franconia down by Lake Havasu City,” said Ward.

The collection is in a highly secure, climate-controlled room, with 150 on display. But that is only a small piece of what he actually has.

“I‘ve found 600 different meteorites from different locations. I have meteorites from all over the asteroid belt,” said Ward.

They represent pieces from Mars, the moon, the asteroid Vesta and cometary material.

So what does it take to be a meteorite hunter?

“Besides that passion for space and science, it takes a lot of expertise to get to the right location using the raw data and then of course fieldwork,” said Ward.

It's work Ward is always ready for.

“I keep bags packed for cold weather, bags packed for hot weather and tropical,” said Ward.

Even with all he has accomplished and owning the world’s largest collection, Ward still has two career goals in mind.

“One is to find a Mars rock. And second is to actually see a fireball come down and recover the meteorite from it,” said Ward.

His passion for hunting has even earned him the nickname “space cowboy” given to him by one of his friends.

“He came up with that one and it’s stuck. Some think that is really fitting,” said Ward.

Although tough, tiring and dangerous at times, Ward would not change a thing.

“Going out and collecting these things has been the most extraordinary adventure I can imagine on Earth,” said Ward. 

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Ashlee DeMartinoAshlee DeMartino is excited to finally be back in her hometown of Phoenix.

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Ashlee DeMartino
Weekend Weather Anchor

An award-winning journalist, Ashlee has worn many hats in her career, one-woman-band, executive producer, anchor, reporter and morning traffic reporter. However, her main focus and passion is weather.

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