Although she had Mr Armstrong's autograph in a frame for years, she had completely forgotten about the moon dust.
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. According to her, she only came across the vial five years ago as she was going through her late parents' possessions. McHugh told Gizmodo in an email that he hasn't yet heard from NASA, "but they were just served, so I wouldn't expect to hear from them for a little while".
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At this point, Ms Cicco isn't sure what she will do with the vial if she's allowed to keep it, though it may be worth millions. 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. The woman claims that the gift was given to her by Neil Armstrong and now, her lawsuit is asking the U.S. District Court in Kansas to make a decision regarding the rightful owner of the vial.
Last Wednesday, Cicco finally took action, filing a lawsuit in federal court and maintaining that Armstrong, who had been part of a "secretive" male pilot's club with her father, gifted her the supposed moon dust in the 1970s, at a time when he was teaching aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati, with the Murray family also living in the city.
"There is no law against private persons owning lunar material", it reads. In a statement to the Washington Post, the agency said it would not be appropriate to comment on the pending litigation.
A group of scientists came to the conclusion that the warming has resulted in damage to the surface of the wheels of the lunar Rover and boots that reduced reflection of sunlight.
The lunar material was tested, and it showed that the vial contained some celestial material, McHugh said.
A scientist hired by McHugh to test the authenticity of the lunar sample concluded that "at this point, it would be hard to rule out lunar origin", Ars Technica noted. In the documents filed for the lawsuit, they cited the case of an elderly woman who was detained and questioned for hours for unauthorized possession of lunar material, which she claimed was given to her by her late husband, an Apollo program engineer who got it from Armstrong. Davis said Armstrong gave the mementos to her husband, Robert Davis.