The query of who owns the moon is on the heart of a brand new lawsuit filed towards NASA by a girl who needs to preserve a vial of lunar mud gifted to her by astronaut Neil Armstrong.
The girl, Laura Murray Cicco, filed a lawsuit towards the area company final week preemptively—NASA hasn’t come for her vial, however the company has tried to seize lunar mementos in the past. Cicco’s mom “gave her a glass vial with a rubber stopper full of light grey dust” when she was 10-years-old, in accordance to the court docket doc, however reportedly hadn’t seen it “for decades” till 5 years in the past when she was going via her late mother and father’ belongings.
Armstrong was allegedly pals with Cicco’s father, late U.S. Army Air Corps pilot Tom Murray. Both males have been reportedly members of Quiet Birdmen, a secret membership for male aviators. Armstrong reportedly gave the vial to Cicco within the ‘70s, which included a handwritten note on the back of one of her father’s enterprise playing cards. It reads: “To Laura Ann Murray — Best of luck — Neil Armstrong Apollo 11.”
The authenticity of the observe and the moon mud have each been examined by specialists. A handwriting professional authenticated Armstrong’s observe, in accordance to Cicco’s legal professional, Christopher McHugh. The latter isn’t as firmly substantiated—one professional discovered that the moon mud in Cicco’s vial “may have originated” from the lunar floor, in accordance to court docket paperwork, the Washington Post reported, whereas one other check discovered the composition of the moon mud pattern to be comparable to the “average crust of Earth.” But the inconclusive discovering doesn’t essentially low cost the potential authenticity of Cicco’s moon mud. The professional wrote in his report that Earth mud may have doubtlessly combined with the moon mud pattern, in accordance to the court docket doc. “At this point, it would be difficult to rule out lunar origin,” the professional wrote.
“Laura was rightfully given this stuff by Neil Armstrong, so it’s hers and we just want to establish that legally,” McHugh advised the Post.
While a proactive lawsuit towards the company would possibly seem barely paranoid for a small vial of alleged moon mud, it’s not. “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,” NASA wrote in its Lunar Allocations Handbook. “It is therefore essential that rigorous accountability and security procedures be followed by all persons who have access to lunar materials.”
In reality, scientists researching the risks of moon mud weren’t even ready achieve entry to the true stuff of their experiments, as a substitute utilizing simulated lunar mud for a research they revealed final month. Bruce Demple, a professor on the Stony Brook University School of Medicine who authored the research, told Gizmodo that he hopes their findings—that simulated moon mud presents well being dangers—will persuade NASA to give them actual moon mud from the Apollo missions.
As for Cicco, her lawsuit is ongoing, and her vial of moon mud is being held in a secure location, in accordance to the Post. McHugh advised Gizmodo in an e-mail that he hasn’t but heard from NASA, “but they were just served, so I wouldn’t expect to hear from them for a little while.” He added that they’ve 60 days from service to problem a response.
We have reached out to NASA to touch upon the lawsuit and whether or not the company will try to seize Cicco’s lunar mementos.