When Laura Murray was 10-years-old, she received a small glass vial filled with light-gray dust, along with a handwritten note from none other than Neil Armstrong. The vial was filled with moon dust, and the note said, “To Laura Ann Murray — Best of Luck — Neil Armstrong Apollo 11,” according to The Washington Post. Murray, who’s now Laura Cicco, said she didn’t see the vial for decades, though she kept the note. But she found the vial after her parents died five years ago.
Last week, Cicco sued NASA to make sure that she can keep what is “rightfully” hers. The Post writes that the space agency has not taken ownership of the vial, but does have a history of seizing suspected lunar material from private citizens. In the lawsuit, Cicco claims that the moon dust was a gift from Armstrong, who was a friend of her father, and the note proves that the Cicco is the legal owner of the dust.
Cicco decided 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. Davis reached out to NASA to hopefully find a buyer for the paperweights when she fell on hard times in 2011, but NASA suspected Davis had committed a crime. She was questioned by armed guards for two hours. She was not charged, and Davis sued in 2013, alleging wrongful search and seizure, false imprisonment, wrongful detention and other constitutional violations.
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