Thursday, 20 September, 2018

A woman asks a court to approve her ownership of moon dust

Moon dust was a gift from Neil Armstrong: Woman sues NASA to keep it Woman: Neil Armstrong gave me moon dust, I don’t want NASA to take it away
Frank Williams | 15 June, 2018, 22:30

Laura Cicco claims in a federal lawsuit that astronaut Neil Armstrong gave her parents the moon dust as a gift almost 50 years ago.

Laura Murray Cicco has filed a case against NASA in a preemptive move to keep the agency from seizing moon dust that belongs to her.

"There is no law against private persons owning lunar material", Cicco's lawsuit asserts.

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. 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.

Laura's father, Tom Murray, a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II (WWII), relocated with his family from Kansas to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1969 or 1970, according to the court records.

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

Decades later she rediscovered the vial and had its contents tested.

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".

In the past, NASA has seized lunar material and launched criminal investigations from the standpoint that any private person can not legally own such artifacts. "Lunar material is not contraband".

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"There is no law against private persons owning lunar material".

Laura Murray Cicco isn't the only private citizen to have sued NASA over items from previous moon mission in their possession.

Still, the government could claim possession of the vial.

Court documents say that an expert acknowledged the possibility of the vial containing an actual sample of the moon's surface. "She is the rightful and legal owner".

Cicco chose to sue based on the story of Joann Davis, who said her husband, an Apollo program engineer, had given her two paperweights that contained fragments of lunar material. An agency spokeswoman told The Washington Post that it would be "inappropriate" for the agency to comment on a pending lawsuit.

But not all of it: Neil Armstrong apparently held onto some moon dust, and apparently gave a small vial of the stuff to the young daughter of one of his friends in the 1970s.

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

A Tennessee woman is suing NASA over a vial of alleged moon dust. Her attorney said it's been kept for safekeeping.

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