October 25, 2023
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Raegan Edelman

Utah State University Journalism Student Covers Asteroid Bennu Returning to Earth 

By Bobbee Russell Verhoef

Utah State University senior, Raegan Edelman, is the only student journalist in Utah who received clearance to cover a capsule containing the asteroid Bennu returning to Earth on Sept. 24.  

Edelman said she wasn’t allowed to bring her car close to the landing’s location near Dugway, Utah, and took a shuttle bus. “It felt like a field trip.” 

The USU student journalist is working on a story about the successful first phase of the OSIRIS-REx mission and the second phase called OSIRIS-APEX.   

The first phase of the mission is successful which is super cool. There’s so much more going to happen,” Edelman said.  

I was in the same room as reporters from Japan and London where I felt out of place at first, she said. “Towards the end, I was proud of myself for being in this position at such a young age. It was great to be around people with more experience to watch their process and see how they ran things.” 

Hearing from people working on getting the Bennu sample back to Earth made Edelman more invested in the mission.  

“It was the most wholesome, special experience. I had body chills the whole time because I could tell they poured their souls into it. It’s their life work and has been in the making for over 20 years. I felt lucky to be involved,” Edelman said. 

At the end of August, Edelman produced a story for Utah Public Radio about the asteroid Bennu and Its potential impacts on Earth. The asteroid is the size of a building going through space and is older than Earth. Edleman sites Dante Lauretta, the principal investigator in the OSIRIS-REx mission said in the story that Bennu might be the most dangerous rock in our solar system.  

Edelman shares the love of science with her siblings. Her sister has a physics degree and brothers are interested in paleontology and biology. “All of them combined really instilled my interest in science.”  

Future endeavors for Edelman include applying for a master’s degree in environmental science. With that degree, she hopes to fulfill a dream of writing about whales and other marine life.  

She is working on a project about anthropoids, which happened to the animals after COVID-19 forced humans into lockdown. “That’s my passion project right now.”