Thursday October 18, 2018
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Woman Sues NASA Over Keeping Moon Dust Gifted to Her by Neil Armstrong

Woman sues NASA over piece of moon gifted by Armstrong

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Launched on August 12, Parker Solar Probe, NASA's historic small car-sized probe will journey steadily closer to the Sun, until it makes its closest approach at 3.8 million miles. Pixabay
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A woman has sued NASA to make sure that the US space agency doesn’t take back a piece of moon gifted to her by Neil Armstrong — the first person to walk on the lunar surface.

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, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Cicco’s father Tom Murray, who was a pilot with the US Army, 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.

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

Woman Sues NASA Over Keeping Moon Dust Gifted to Her by Neil Armstrong
Moon, Pixabay

“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 said, quoting the attorney.

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

Cicco’s lawsuit cited another case where NASA seized lunar mementoes 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.

Also Read: NASA’s Opportunity Rover is Battling a Massive Dust Storm on Mars

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.

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

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Chandra Observatory By NASA Back in Action

Scientists are currently performing analyses and tests to determine what options were available to recover the gyro to operational performance

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NASA's Chandra Observatory back in action. Pixabay

NASA Chandra X-Ray Observatory, observing the universe in high-energy light since 1999, is back in action after suffering a glitch due to the failure of the gyroscope and going into safe mode last week.

The cause of Chandra’s safe mode on October 10 has now been understood and the Operations team has successfully returned the spacecraft to its normal pointing mode, according to the US space agency.

“The safe mode was caused by a glitch in one of Chandra’s gyroscopes resulting in a 3-second period of bad data that, in turn, led the on-board computer to calculate an incorrect value for the spacecraft momentum. The erroneous momentum indication then triggered the safe mode,” NASA said in a statement late on Monday.

The team has completed plans to switch gyroscopes and place the gyroscope that experienced the glitch in reserve.

Once configured with a series of pre-tested flight software patches, the team will return Chandra to science operations which are expected to commence by the end of this week, NASA said.

On October 10, Chandra X-ray Observatory entered safe mode, in which the observatory is put into a safe configuration, critical hardware is swapped to back-up units, the spacecraft points so that the solar panels get maximum sunlight, and the mirrors point away from the Sun.

Chandra is 19 years old, which is well beyond the original design lifetime of five years. In 2001, NASA extended its lifetime to 10 years.

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which has been orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres since March 2015, is also nearly out of fuel and might run out as early as October. Flickr

The US space agency said that it was also continuing to work towards resuming science operations of the Hubble Space Telescope that on October 5, entered safe mode after one of the three gyroscopes (gyros) being used to point and steady the telescope failed.

Gyroscopes help spacecraft maintain proper orientation.

Scientists are currently performing analyses and tests to determine what options were available to recover the gyro to operational performance.

Till that time, science operations with Hubble have been suspended.

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Besides Chandra and Hubble, NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope is also almost out of fuel. Kepler has found about 70 per cent of all known alien worlds to date.

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which has been orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres since March 2015, is also nearly out of fuel and might run out as early as October.

The space agency’s Mars rovers Opportunity and Curiosity too have faced issues of late. (IANS)