Woman suing NASA to keep possession of moon dust

Neil Armstrong 'gave' woman dust she sues NASA

Woman suing NASA to keep possession of moon dust

Laura Cicco received a vial of moon dust from famed Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong almost 50 years ago.

A former Kansas resident who apparently received moon dust from famous astronaut Neil Armstrong filed a federal lawsuit against National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to prevent the space agency from taking the dust away from her.

While NASA has been known to take suspected lunar material from private citizens, as noted by Laura Murray Cicco's lawyer, Christopher McHugh, there is no law that forbids private citizens from keeping materials believed to have come from previous trips to the moon.

"When Laura was about 10 years old, her mother gave her a glass vial with a rubber stopper full of light grey dust, and one of her father's business cards", according to the lawsuit.

Along with the dust, Armstrong also gave her a note which read, "To Laura Ann Murray - Best of luck - Neal Armstrong Apollo 11".

While the young girl kept the note with her, she couldn't keep a track of the vial and had not seen it in decades.

Despite the varied findings, the expert wrote in his report that "it would be hard to rule out lunar origin" and that it's possible that some dust from Earth "mingled with this likely lunar sample".

"Lunar samples are the property of the United States Government, and it is NASA's policy that lunar sample materials will be used only for authorized purposes", the space agency states in the handbook. NASA has not made any attempt to retrieve the vial from Cicco, nor has there been any confirmation by the space agency whether it plans to do it.

The vial has been tested by experts who have mixed reports on whether its contents consist of lunar dust, material from Earth, or a combination of both, according to the Post.

Private ownership of lunar material is a contentious legal issue in the US.

That's one small vial... and one potentially giant piece of litigation. "It is not illegal to own or possess".

Ms Davis and her new husband met the "buyer" at a Denny's Restaurant, only to discover it was a sting operation lead by Nasa's Inspector General. She and her second husband were allegedly lured to a Denny's restaurant by an informant posing as a broker, only for them to be arrested and questioned by federal agents for the next two hours. The lawsuit claims that the alleged moon dust may have come from a lunar regolith.

But Mr McHugh says that people like Ms Cicco who can prove they did not steal the material should be allowed to own it without interference from Nasa.

"It means more for my memory of my father", she says.

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