A woman sued NASA to maintain a vial of moon dust. She may have made a massive mistake.

A woman sued NASA to maintain a vial of moon dust. She may have made a massive mistake.

From time to time, they raised cubes as hefty as 25 pounds (in Earth pounds ) off the lunar surface. In complete, NASA flew 842 lbs of aliens back to Earth. The majority of it’s since been sealed off in arctic vaults.

She is so convinced, in actuality, she sued NASA for her to maintain this vial of supposed lunar dirt until the area agency could take it off.

Cicco and her lawyer were spooked by an event in 2011, where a 74-year old girl tried to market rice grain-sized pieces of moon stone to national agents at a Denny’s parking lot, throughout a eccentric sting operation. The girl had originally contacted NASA, looking for a purchaser for her moon stones, which then escalated into an undercover operation.

Cicco asserts that astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to step foot on the moon, somehow obtained or obtained a vial of moon dust from the authorities and gifted it to her if she was a youngster, together with an autograph. Armstrong and Cicco’s dad, she stated , were members of a secret pilot team , the Quiet Birdmen.

But could anything is in that vial actually be dust from the moon?

While Cicco might have been talented an autograph in the mythical Armstrong, it is more doubtful that he really handed some lunar soil.

Assessing the sample
Cicco’s lawyer sent the vial into the Bruker Corporation, a laboratory which uses specialized equipment to examine substances.

Tom Tague, a chemist and software manager for the laboratory, conducted two tests, both between X-ray analysis. 1 test failed to make some practical results, either way. “It was not helpful,” explained Tague, in a meeting.

However, another, known as X-ray diffraction spectroscopy,”was hugely useful,” explained Tague, who noticed he had previously analyzed supposed lunar substances for personal people. Especially, Tague discovered that the minerals were”consistent with lunar soil from the highlands of the moon”

“To summarize my findings, you could not eliminate the sample was in the moon,” explained Tague, that had the advantage of NASA literature outlining the mineralogy of unique regions on the lunar surface.

“That is a significant notice, at least in my view,” he explained.

The results, revealing the dirt had consistencies with grime out of the lunar highlands, were introduced as evidence in the suit, together with the autograph and the vial.

“That is perhaps not the ringing endorsement of this being from the moon,” explained Robert Pearlman, a space historian that has carefully followed this moon stone case and many others, in a meeting.

Therefore, what’s happening here?

Cicco’s lawyer, Christopher McHugh, has little doubt about Tague’s evaluation, noting that he is”extremely optimistic” at the outcomes.

“He had been included with authentication of those missing Da Vinci painting which comparatively recently sold for more than 450 million”

There is very little question that Tague, with a doctorate in chemistry and has been a specialist is elemental analysis, soundly examined the substance.

However, if this material were really dirt out of the moon, the consequences will almost surely be conclusive — not only consistent with stone from a specific area of the lunar survace.

When scrutinized closely, moon stones and dust are rather different from whatever on Earth.

For starters, said Kiefer, volcanic stone on the moon, also called basalt, has”more iron” than comparable volcanic rocks on Earth.

Even though these are powerful clues, Kiefer underscored that he had no opinion about the particular samples in question, with never seen Bruker’s compound investigation.

Moon rocks are exceptional from the planet’s dirt in different ways, too.

Moon dirt could reveal signs of”space weathering,” since the surface was bombarded with small meteorites and solar wind (charged particles in the sun) for centuries, Ralph Milliken, an assistant professor at the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown University, said through email.

“All these kinds of effects wouldn’t be found in temperate [Earth] substances and aren’t easily replicated in a lab setting,” said Milliken.

“I’d believe that with the ideal type of dimensions and individuals with expertise in lunar stuff it would be quite simple to properly identify whether a sample is lunar soil,” Milliken added.

The material from the vial could be fake lunar dust, understood widely as”lunar simulant,” but this material isn’t simple to create.

“Another way to think about this is that if it had been simple to create’fake’ lunar dirt then there will probably be lots of individuals trying to sell these things, but it’s in fact quite difficult to earn stuff that’s indistinguishable to lunar soil,” said Milliken.

You will find firms interested in building a dirt approximating asteroid and lunar earth, nevertheless, that imitation dirt can be used for study purposes like robots and spacecraft for future expeditions.

So, does NASA possess each bit of moon rock on Earth?

That is why NASA,””‘on behalf of the USA,’ can maintain possession over the moon stones and other tiny amounts of stuff brought back from the different Apollo astronauts,” said Van der Dunk.

But he notes”the lawful question really becomes trickier” after the stones get passed around from the U.S. For example, if it was a legal present in Armstrong, does possession pass to some other individual, and in that case, would a state or national law determine the result?

NASA hasn’t talented a moon stone to some 1 person.

“No president of the USA, no astronauts have been introduced with a single [moon stone ],” said Pearlman, the distance historian.

In reality, the U.S authorities has just talented tiny pieces of lunar material, embedded in oil glass chunks, to 135 foreign states and 50 U.S. nations.

“If this lady’s story is accurate, her difficulty is with Neil Armstrong — since he would have handed off stolen merchandise for her,” said Pearlman, who runs the site collectSPACE.com.

“It is about thieving, maybe not so much concerning the moon — but that is what makes it interesting,” he added.

McHugh, however, finds it”bothersome” that anybody would assert Armstrong took authorities moon stone without consent.

“Saying that somebody took something with no authorization is a gutless method of stating that he stole it,” said McHugh. All of the evidence I’ve seen shows that he was an American hero who had been beyond reproach.”

There are still unaccounted for moon stones, but something NASA confessed in a marginally damning government report at 2011.

Of 140,000 lunar samples and about 23,000 meteorite along with other samples, NASA has 26,000 of those space items on loan for educational and research purposes. Of them, 517 happen to be stolen or lost — although it is uncertain exactly how many are moon stones specifically.

It’s likely that Cicco acquired some stolen or lost moon dust. But, it seems NASA was utterly unaware of her vial for decades.

This litigation against NASA, subsequently, has left the area agency well conscious of the vial — even if it’s not likely to be moon dust.

“She did not have an issue ahead,” said Pearlman.

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