Woman Sues NASA For Possession of Moon Dust Gifted by Neil Armstrong


Her mother, giddy with excitement, handed the little girl a small glass vial filled with light-gray dust.

How did she acquire the moon dust?


A woman has sued NASA to make sure that the United States space agency doesn't take back a piece of moon gifted to her by Neil Armstrong - the first person to walk on the lunar surface.

Cicco, who kept the note, found the vial five years ago after her parents both passed away, and she's determined to keep it.

In that case, in 2016, a federal judge in Wichita ruled that the government had to return to a local woman, Nancy Carlson, a NASA bag that was used to collect lunar samples, which turned out to contain moon dust. "I have it, '" Cicco told the paper. "At that time, we didn't really know what to do with it".

"To Laura Ann Murray, best of luck, Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11", the card read.

Last week, Cicco sued Nasa to make sure she can keep what is "rightfully" hers.

She is seemingly concerned that the government might attempt to come after her-NASA has previously taken the legal position that "private persons can not own lunar material", and has criminally investigated people claiming to sell such lunar material or otherwise tried to seize such artifacts.

Laura Cicco from Cincinnati has filed a lawsuit in a federal court, stating that the vial of moon dust she has was a gift from Armstrong who was a friend of her father, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The lawsuit disagrees with Nasa's assertion that all lunar material belongs to the government, claiming that in the absence of a law explicitly banning private ownership, Ms Cicco should be allowed to keep hers. The proof is Armstrong's handwritten note, which has been authenticated by a handwriting expert, McHugh said. In a statement to the Washington Post, the agency said it would not be appropriate to comment on the pending litigation. That said, it's hard to say the dust didn't come from the moon, which means the mysterious vial is being held in an undisclosed and safe location until the question of legal ownership is settled. One test found that the dust's mineralogy is consistent with the known composition of lunar soil. The XRF test, however, showed that it was similar to "average crust of Earth". The expert wrote in his report that Earth dust could have potentially mixed with the moon dust sample, according to the court document. Davis said Armstrong gave the mementos to her husband, Robert Davis.

Nasa's Office of the Inspector General launched a sting on Davis, who was then 74.

But three armed federal agents greeted the couple and took them to the parking lot for a two-hour questioning, according to court records.

"Nasa has taken this position that all lunar material is government property", says Christopher McHugh, Ms Cicco's lawyer. "Laura shouldn't be afraid that Nasa is going to come knocking on her door and barge in and try and take the vial".

It wasn't until Ms Cicco and her husband Chris tried to get the contents of the vial tested that they realised they might have a problem on their hands.