NASA has been preemptively sued to protect Neil Armstrong-gifted moon dust

Mindy Sparks
June 14, 2018

The woman, Laura Murray Cicco, says that as a 10-year-old, his client received a "glass vial with a rubber stopper full of light grey dust", along with a signed note from the famed Apollo 11 astronaut.

A Tennessee woman is suing NASA over a vial of alleged moon dust.

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

The authenticity of the note and the moon dust have both been tested by experts.

If the initial findings are replicated, the vial would be extremely valuable but legally hazardous to sell.

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA has taken the position that all lunalogic material is the property of NASA", the Cicco's lawsuit claims, citing the Davis case. "I didn't want that to happen to Laura". In a statement to the Washington Post, the agency said it would not be appropriate to comment on the pending litigation.

How did she acquire the moon dust?


Her mother Dorothy explained that it came from the first man to ever walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, and also showed her his signature on the back of one of her father's business cards. The note, which has been authenticated, reads: "To Laura Ann Murray, Best of Luck-Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11".

Armstrong and Cicco's father Tom Murray were friends during a time when they both lived in Cincinnati, according to the lawsuit.

It was a Saturday, and Laura Murray was a 10-year-old girl hanging out with her nanny outside her family's Cincinnati townhouse.

"I wasn't really excited about it", she recalls. It is not clear why she is bringing the lawsuit now, five years after she told the Kansas City Star that she found it in a wooden chest.

Although she had Mr Armstrong's autograph in a frame for years, she had completely forgotten about the moon dust.

"[I tried] a couple universities".

While Davis had only her late husband's word that the mementos belonged to her, Cicco has evidence proving that Armstrong had given her the vial, said McHugh, the attorney.

Can private citizens own moon dust?

. The latter isn't as firmly substantiated - one expert found that the moon dust in Cicco's vial "may have originated" from the lunar surface, according to court documents, the Washington Post reported, while another test found the composition of the moon dust sample to be similar to the "average crust of Earth". And that's just not true", McHugh said, adding later: "This is not stolen property. "Lunar material is not contraband". "It is not illegal to own or possess".

Laura Cicco Laura Cicco is suing NASA to ensure she retains ownership of this vial, which she says is a gift of moon dust from Neil Armstrong. "Neil Armstrong wouldn't have had authority to give the moon rock away". Davis was not charged, and she filed a suit against the agency in 2013. It was bought and eventually resold, but not before NASA did everything in its power to get the bag back.

In 2016, McHugh represented another local woman fighting for control over a NASA bag used to collect lunar samples.

Of the 270 lunar samples given as gifts by the United States to foreign governments, about 150 are missing and many are presumed to have been sold on the black market.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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