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. But she found the vial after her parents died five years ago.
According to Cicco, her father and Armstrong were both members of a secretive and absurdly-titled club for aviators called the "Quiet Birdmen", as her dad Tom Murray was a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps.
"To Laura Ann Murray, best of luck, Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11", the card read.
A scientist hired by McHugh to test the authenticity of the lunar sample concluded that "at this point, it would be hard to rule out lunar origin", Ars Technica noted. Two different tests on the dust's composition had varying results, but the expert said that the sample could be moon dust mixed with Earth's own soil.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has previously taken the position that "private persons can not own lunar material", because it is property of the government agency.
"There is no law against private persons owning lunar material". But a Nasa official suspected that Davis had committed a crime by being in possession of contraband or stolen government property, as The Washington Post's Fred Barbash wrote. "She is the rightful and legal owner". Nevertheless, it's clearly pretty special to its owner and we'll have to wait and see if NASA decides to make a move. NASA has yet to respond as of this posting, but the lawsuit was recently served and, as McHugh told Gizmodo, the space agency has 60 days to respond.
Decades after the incident, the little girl has grown into a woman who would fight tooth and nail with NASA for keeping the vial of moon dust with herself.
When Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface, he said: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind".
The federal agents believed the 74-year-old had stolen the artefacts (she was never charged and successfully sued the agents).
In fact, scientists researching the dangers of moon dust weren't even able gain access to the real stuff in their experiments, instead using simulated lunar dust for a study they published last month.
Davis' late husband, who was an engineer on Apollo 11 -the spacecraft that took Armstrong to space, gave her the item.
"It means more for my memory of my father", she says.