Laura Murray Cicco has filed a lawsuit against NASA in a bid to prevent the organisation from coming after what she claims is a vial of lunar dust given to her by Neil Armstrong when she was a child, reported Gizmodo.
Although NASA has not expressed any desire to get hold of the vial, lunar mementos are usually acquired by the space agency for research puporses. This drove Cicco to take precautionary measures so that ownership of the “gift” remains with her.
Quoting a Washington Post report Gizmodo reported that Cicco’s attorney, Christopher McHugh, claimed that the handwritten note has been verified by a professional handwriting expert and that she was “rightfully given this stuff by Neil Armstrong, so it’s hers” and that they just wanted to “establish that legally”.
As per the report. Cicco’s mother had given her a “glass vial with a rubber stopper full of light grey dust” along with a signed note from the Apollo 11 astronaut when she was 10 years old, however she only rediscovered it in her possession decades later, five years ago.
Cicco’s father Tom Murray and Armstrong were allegedly friends, and Armstrong had gotten her the souvenir as a gesture of their friendship when he returned from the historic mission.
Murray, who served in the US Army Air Corps, is said to have befriended Armstrong in the 70s.
NASA’s Lunar Allocation handbook states, “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” – so a pre-emptive lawsuit might not be such a bad idea.
Since it is still an ongoing lawsuit, the vial is being held in a safe location till the court gives its final verdict.
(With inputs from Gizmodo)
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