A Tennessee woman is suing NASA over a vial of alleged moon dust.
Laura Cicco said in her lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in Kansas, that astronaut Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission, and the first man on the moon, had given the vial to her through her mother when she was 10. An accompanying note from Armstrong says, “To Laura Ann Murray – Best of Luck – Neil Armstrong Apollo 11.”
“Astronaut Neil Armstrong gifted the vial of lunar dust at issue to Laura Ann Murray, now Laura Murray Cicco, when she was a child, and she is the rightful and legal owner of the vial and its contents,” the lawsuit claims.
Armstrong and Cicco’s father Tom Murray were friends during a time when they both lived in Cincinnati, according to the lawsuit. Murray served as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, and according to the Washington Post, Murray and Armstrong (who was a Naval pilot during the Korean war) were members of a secret pilot society known as the Quiet Birdmen.
Cicco, who kept the note, found the vial five years ago after her parents both passed away, and she’s determined to keep it.
The suit is a preemptive one. There is no law that says private citizens cannot own lunar material. However, in 2011, officials staged a sting to retrieve lunar material (which they suspected was stolen) from a 74-year-old woman, Joann Davis. Davis was reportedly given the material — two paperweights, one containing a small lunar rock, and the other containing a piece of the Apollo 11 heat shield — from her late husband, who worked as an engineer on the Apollo 11 mission. Davis was not charged, and she filed a suit against the agency in 2013.
“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA has taken the position that all lunalogic material is the property of NASA,” the Cicco’s lawsuit claims, citing the Davis case.
In terms of the material itself, tests performed at the behest of Cicco’s attorney Christopher M. McHugh, by a chemist found that “it would be difficult to rule out lunar origin.” Two tests—x-ray fluorescence (XRF) and x-ray diffraction (XRD)—were performed on the dust to see if it was indeed from the moon.
One test found that the dust “mineralogy is consistent with the known composition of lunar regolith,” according to the suit. The XRF test, however, showed that it was similar to “average crust of Earth.”
Fortune contacted NASA for comment and it awaiting a response. In a statement to the Washington Post, the agency said it would not be appropriate to comment on the pending litigation.