A woman is suing NASA in a bid to make sure she could keep possession of a vial of moon dust gifted to her by the first man to step on the Moon, Neil Armstrong.

Though NASA has not staked a claim on the vial, Laura Murray Cicco filed a lawsuit against the agency in a federal court, considering its previous attempts to seize moon related material from private citizens. In other words, it is a preemptive attempt from her side to prevent NASA officials from repeating such action.

Lunar soil Woman sues NASA over a moon dust gifted to her by Neil Armstrong. Pictured, Buzz Aldrin's boot and footprint in lunar soil. Photo: NASA History Office/NASA JSC Media Services Center

In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, Cicco claimed Armstrong was friends with her father, who was a pilot for U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, and gave her the vial of light grey dust as a memento from the Apollo mission with a handwritten note that read: “To Laura Ann Murray — Best of luck — Neil Armstrong Apollo 11."

As the Washington Post reported, Cicco’s father and Armstrong both flew for a secretive group of aviators named Quiet Birdman. Back in the late 70s, the late former astronaut decided to gift the vial and the note to a 10-year-old Laura.

While the young girl kept the note with her, she couldn’t keep a track of the vial and had not seen it in decades. However, five years ago while going through her late parents' belongings, she found the moon dust again.

“I came running where my husband was and I said, ‘This is the vial of moon dust. I have it,’” Cicco told the Post. “At that time, we didn’t really know what to do with it.”

That said, now she has decided to establish the legality of what is rightfully hers, Christopher McHugh, Cicco’s attorney told the Post. In the documents filed for the lawsuit, they cited the case of an elderly woman who was detained and questioned for hours for unauthorized possession of lunar material, which she claimed was given to her by her late husband, an Apollo program engineer who got it from Armstrong.

In that case, the only evidence was the elderly woman’s husband’s word, but here, Cicco has evidence in the form of Armstrong’s letter. Experts have verified that the note was indeed written by Armstrong, but there is still some doubt for the lunar dust, which according to an expert may have originated on the lunar surface, according to the documents filed in the court. As some tests suggest a lunar origin and some did not, the expert noted that it might be a mixture of dust from Earth and the moon.

Though a NASA spokesman denied commenting on the case, the agency has been pretty vocal regarding the procession of lunar samples.

“Lunar samples are the property of the United States Government, and it is NASA’s policy that lunar sample materials will be used only for authorized purposes,” the agency wrote in its Lunar Allocations Handbook. “It is therefore essential that rigorous accountability and security procedures be followed by all persons who have access to lunar materials.”

The agency has 60 days to respond to the lawsuit. Meanwhile, the sample of lunar dust in question is kept at a safe location for the time being.