Woman sues NASA over piece of Moon’s soil gifted to her by Neil Armstrong

The Hush Post: In an interesting case, a woman has filed a lawsuit against National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to ensure that the US space agency doesn’t take back a piece of Moon’s soil gifted to her by Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the surface of Moon.

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, Babushahi reported on Wednesday quoting a report from The Washington Post, a leading daily of the United States (US).

Cicco’s father Tom Murray, who was a pilot with the US Army, had spent a lot of time together with Armstrong. Sometime in the 1970s, the US astronaut gave the vial of moon dust along with a handwritten note to Murray’s little girl when she was 10, the report said.

Cicco has now filed a lawsuit against NASA because the space agency has “a history of seizing suspected lunar material from private citizens”, her attorney was quoted as saying.

“There’s no law prohibiting private citizens from owning materials from the moon and Cicco is the rightful and legal owner of the moon dust,” the report quoted the attorney as saying.

The vial of dust that Cicco has, was analysed by scientists who said it was “likely” a sample of the lunar surface.

Cicco’s petition cited another case where NASA seized lunar mementos from an elderly California woman which was gifted to her by her late husband and an Apollo programme engineer.

Reacting to the lawsuit, a NASA spokesperson said it would be “inappropriate” for the space agency to comment.

In July 1969, Armstrong and Apollo 11 Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin performed the first manned moon landing and spent two-and-a-half hours outside the spacecraft while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the command module, the report said.

When Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface, he said: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

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