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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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Woman Sues NASA Over Keeping Moon Dust Gifted to Her by Neil Armstrong
Woman Sues NASA Over Keeping Moon Dust Gifted to Her by Neil Armstrong. 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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NASA’s Curiosity Rover Captures Images of Martian Dust Storm

The last storm of global magnitude that enveloped Mars was in 2007, five years before Curiosity landed there

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NASA image.
NASA's Curiosity Rover Captures Images of Martian Dust Storm. Pixabay

With NASA engineers yet to make contact with the Opportunity Mars rover due to a massive storm on the Red Planet, scientists are pinning their hopes on learning more about Martian dust storms from images captured by the Curiosity probe.

As of Tuesday morning, the Martian dust storm had grown in size and was officially a “planet-encircling” (or “global”) dust event, NASA said in a statement on Wednesday.

Though Curiosity is on the other side of Mars from Opportunity, dust has steadily increased over it, more than doubling over the weekend, NASA said.

The US space agency said the Curiosity Rover this month used its Mast Camera, or Mastcam, to snap photos of the intensifying haziness of the surface of Mars caused by the massive dust storm.

For NASA’s human scientists watching from the ground, Curiosity offers an unprecedented window to answer some questions. One of the biggest: Why do some Martian dust storms last for months and grow massive, while others stay small and last only a week?

“We don’t have any good idea,” said Scott Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Mars Rover
Mars Rover, Pixabay

Curiosity, he pointed out, plus a fleet of spacecraft in the orbit of Mars, will allow scientists for the first time to collect a wealth of dust information both from the surface and from space.

The last storm of global magnitude that enveloped Mars was in 2007, five years before Curiosity landed there.

The current storm has starkly increased dust at Gale Crater, where the Curiosity rover is studying the storm’s effects from the surface.

But it poses little risk to the Curiosity rover, said Curiosity’s engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Also Read: NASA Plans To Install An Instrument To Monitor Plant Water Use

However, there was still no signal from the Opportunity rover, although a recent analysis of the rover’s long-term survivability in Mars’ extreme cold suggests Opportunity’s electronics and batteries can stay warm enough to function.

Regardless, the project does not expect to hear from Opportunity until the skies begin to clear over the rover.

The dust storm is comparable in scale to a similar storm observed by Viking I in 1977, but not as big as the 2007 storm that Opportunity previously weathered. (IANS)