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  Lawsuit over 'Armstrong-gifted moon dust'

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Author Topic:   Lawsuit over 'Armstrong-gifted moon dust'
Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-11-2018 04:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Woman sues NASA over vial of moon dust she says gifted by Neil Armstrong

A Tennessee woman has filed a lawsuit against NASA claiming that the moon dust she received as a child was a gift from Neil Armstrong.

According to documents filed with the U.S. District Court of Kansas, Laura Murray Cicco was about 10 years old when her mother presented her with the light grey dust in a small glass vial. The rubber-stopped container came with one of her father's business cards inscribed by the astronaut.

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 06-11-2018 05:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regardless of the legalities of owning lunar material I somehow doubt very much that Armstrong would have gifted such. It would have been totally out of character. And an inscribed business card is suggestive of a business acquaintance or passing encounter, neither of which in my opinion would have elicited such an unlikely gift. Any pictures of the inscribed business card?

It may be lunar regolith simulant, in which case analysis would confirm but even that I doubt.

mode1charlie
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posted 06-11-2018 06:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It doesn't even look like moon dust to me, and although I'm no lunar geologist, I'm not a newbie either. Lunar regolith samples that I've seen at the National Air and Space Museum and elsewhere are a much darker material.

randy
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posted 06-11-2018 08:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That looks like a sample I have of volcanic ash from Mt. Saint-Helens. And the sample of lunar regolith simulant I have is indeed much darker.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-11-2018 09:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick Mulheirn:
Any pictures of the inscribed business card?
This is the photo from the article:

Rick Mulheirn
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From: England
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posted 06-11-2018 09:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regardless of whether or not the signature is genuine it does not in itself confer any provenance to the vial.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 06-11-2018 10:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wondering how she'll be able to prove or provide enough evidence that Armstrong did in fact gifted the dust to her, if that was at all the case.

The whole thing to me just seems completely "way out there," and not to mention, the legalities involved as well.

But as Rick pointed out, it's certainly not the character of the First Man nor would a signed/inscribed business card to her prove anything moon dust related.

Is it genuine lunar dust? Only a qualified specialist can say for sure, but from a quick glance of it, it doesn't seen to be authentic lunar dust material from my limited and untrained visualization opinion of it. And wow, there was so much of it in the glass vial!

Maybe the child's mother was playing some kind of joke on her daughter when she was 10 years old, but never told her otherwise.

David C
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From: Lausanne
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posted 06-11-2018 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ken Havekotte:
Maybe the child's mother was playing some kind of joke...
Or a "fun," cheap present. This is obviously nonsense. What's her beef with NASA anyway, or what is she hoping to get out of them?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-11-2018 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Under the premise that NASA considers all (loose) lunar material to be its own, the lawsuit seeks a declaration that the vial and its contents are Laura Murray Cicco's property. She makes no other requests or demands.

denali414
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posted 06-11-2018 02:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for denali414   Click Here to Email denali414     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"We conclude that the chemical composition of the sample is not consistent with lunar regolith," added Tague.
Well, I think she will have a tough uphill climb ahead with the lawsuit. But she did at least hire the right lawyer for this.

randyc
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From: Chandler, AZ USA
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posted 06-11-2018 03:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randyc   Click Here to Email randyc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's my understanding that even if it's actually lunar soil (which I doubt) and Neil Armstrong did give it to her mother the astronauts were not allowed to keep lunar material, not even Neil Armstrong. All lunar material is the property of NASA.

Is it correct to conclude that even if her story is true Armstrong was not authorized to keep the material and therefore not authorized to give it away? If it is lunar soil she will have to return it to NASA.

David C
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posted 06-11-2018 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
...the lawsuit seeks a declaration that the vial and its contents are Laura Murray Cicco's property.
Since it's obviously not lunar material, she may well be successful in this pointless waste of public time and funds.

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 06-12-2018 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The material does not look lunar, whether vacuumed from a spacesuit as grains or out of this world wise. No argument on the autograph being Neil's.

The bottom line is if the material's composition is lunar or not.

p51
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posted 06-12-2018 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd laugh long and loud if the end result sounded like this:

"Well, I'll be darned, we tested it and turns out it IS a very unusual lunar sample, but a lunar sample nonetheless. So, as you can't own lunar dust, we'll be keeping this. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!"

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-04-2018 09:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CBS This Morning aired a segment about the alleged moon dust today (July 4), including my own commentary on the matter:
"Great claims require great evidence and there's not a lot of great evidence in this case," Pearlman said.

4allmankind
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posted 07-04-2018 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well said, Robert!

MarylandSpace
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posted 07-04-2018 11:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The autographed card looks real but there is no apparent attachment to the vial or test tube of vacuum cleaner dust. Wouldn't the "dust" be more granular? Robert, you represent the space community very well.

fredtrav
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posted 07-04-2018 12:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"The space agency considers all lunar material government property." That is not a true statement. Lunar meteorites, Russian samples returned to earth (well maybe Russian government property), and some lunar dust on articles the astronauts were allowed to keep are not government property.

Besides that, it does not look real and can not be confirmed as such. Why is this even getting any press at all?

Chuckster01
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posted 07-04-2018 12:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chuckster01   Click Here to Email Chuckster01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This gets press because not all "fake news" is political.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-04-2018 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is in the news because it is a woman suing NASA over a vial of supposed moon dust. That is not something that happens every day.

Not that the lawsuit makes much sense.

Laura Cicco says she wants to be able to keep her property, but it doesn't seem like anyone was aware of the vial until she decided to go public with it. And then she went to the court with a weak mineralogy report that calls into question the nature of the dust.

Her attorney says there needs to be a test case to establish the legality of lunar material ownership, but this isn't a question of the type of material but rather how it was obtained. The laws concerning theft of government property are established.

Philip
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posted 07-06-2018 04:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyway an amazing story on July 4, 2018.

fredtrav
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posted 07-06-2018 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would say a better story for April 1.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-26-2018 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On Wednesday (July 25), NASA was granted a 21 day extension to respond to Laura Cicco's lawsuit. The space agency (through its representation by the U.S. Department of Justice) now has until Aug. 31, 2018 to file its reply.

Chuckster01
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posted 07-26-2018 04:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chuckster01   Click Here to Email Chuckster01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why do I feel that much like the Apollo 11 lunar sample bag if this lawsuit goes her way there will be an almost immediate auction of that vial?

mmcmurrey
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posted 07-26-2018 04:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mmcmurrey   Click Here to Email mmcmurrey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chuck are you under the impression the dust is "moon dust"? Is anyone going have analysis performed on it or do you expect someone to pay up for a hoax?

Go4EVA!
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posted 08-19-2018 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Go4EVA!   Click Here to Email Go4EVA!     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
...then she went to the court with a weak mineralogy report that calls into question the nature of the dust.
Has this "mineralogy report" been posted somewhere for public viewing and/or peer review?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-19-2018 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The report was filed as an exhibit with Laura Cicco's lawsuit. It can be read here.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-29-2019 12:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On April 17, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Eric Melgren granted the government's (NASA's) motion to dismiss. The case is now closed.

Laura Cicco's attorneys had argued that she had a right of review under 5 U.S. Code ยง 702:

A person suffering legal wrong because of agency action, or adversely affected or aggrieved by agency action within the meaning of a relevant statute, is entitled to judicial review thereof.
The judge, in rejecting that argument, cited the requirements for that review:
The statute states that a person must be stating a claim "that an agency or an officer or employee thereof acted or failed to act in an official capacity or under color of legal authority." Plaintiff does not allege any unlawful action, or inaction, by an agency or employee.

There are no allegations that Defendant, or any of its employees or officers, have performed any actions or failures to act in this case. Instead, she simply seeks a declaration that she is the rightful owner of a vial containing dust from the moon. Thus, even though she is seeking relief other than monetary damages, she does not state a claim that Defendant "acted or failed to act."

The judge also found that the court lacked jurisdiction to take up the case.
Accordingly, the Court must dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

David C
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posted 04-29-2019 01:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I presume she's footing the bill for this nonsense.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-29-2019 09:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The judge's order granting the defendent's motion to dismiss does not address legal fees. I would presume both parties remain responsible for their own expenses.

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