A retired NASA astronaut's request to dismiss a lawsuit against him has been rejected and a trial will take place to determine just who owns a moon camera taken from space forty years ago.
The case of United States of America vs. Edgar Mitchell is scheduled for a jury trial in Oct. 2012, Space.com reported.
Mitchell removed a 16-millimeter data acquisition camera (DAC) from a lunar module during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971 and took it back to Earth, the Web site Space.com reported.
NASA said that Mitchell was supposed to leave the DAC on the moon.
Defendant's allegations that NASA intended the camera to be destroyed after the mission or that it routinely awarded used mission equipment to astronauts do not preclude as a matter of law Plaintiff's contrary allegation that Defendant impermissibly converted the camera, Florida judge Daniel Hurley wrote in his order, Space.com reported.
Apollo 14 was Mitchell's only space flight. He logged 216 hours and 42 minutes in space, according to his NASA biography.
His biography noted that he and fellow mission crew member Alan Shepard subsequently deployed and activated various scientific equipment and experiments and collected almost 100 pounds of lunar samples for return to Earth.