‘It was incredible’: Phoenix photographer sat with NASA to see OSIRIS-REx landing

A Phoenix photographer was in Colorado when a NASA spacecraft containing asteroid samples landed after a historic 4-billion-mile journey.
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 4:06 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Seven years and 60,000 miles later, the OSIRIS-REx mission is complete. On Sunday, samples from the asteroid Bennu landed in Utah’s remote expanse of military land. It’s the first time a U.S. spacecraft has brought an asteroid sample collected from space. “It was absolutely like chills. It was incredible,” said Andrew McCarthy, a Phoenix photographer.

A space enthusiast himself, McCarthy was there to experience this fantastic milestone at the Lockheed Martin Waterkin campus in Colorado. “When the cameras are off, people were going nuts. They were so excited because they were working on this mission for over 10 years, and to see it finally safe and sound in the Utah desert was an incredible moment. Incredible relief for everybody,” McCarthy said.

The capsule contained rich soil that dates back nearly 4.5 billion years. “I’m really excited to see what they find in this sample. Fingers crossed it’s aliens, but it’s probably not going to be aliens. I have a feeling they’re just going to find some really fascinating geology there that’s going to give us insights into how our own planet was formed in the early days of the solar system,” McCarthy said.

That sample has since been hauled to a laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it will be processed and then shared with researchers around the world. Andrew says this experience was something he will never forget. “Being able to just be around this incredible community of people that all are so passionate about space and furthering humanity’s footprint into space and understanding our cosmos are just incredible in its own right,” McCarthy said.

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