Bill requires stray rocket parts to be returned or face possible jail time

Finders, keepers may be the age-old rule, but not when it comes to valuable space objects that fall from the sky. 

A new bill was given the green light Wednesday, requiring people to return parts of spacecraft if they happen to come across them. 

"We have reports of fishermen that have come across parachutes and hatches offshore. We had the incident about a year ago off of Pensacola where a capsule landed in the waters," said Florida State Representative Tyler Sirois, R-Cocoa. 

In fact, in February of last year, a charter captain out on a fishing trip off the coast of Daytona Beach hauled in a door and parachute from the SpaceX Dragon capsule. 

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The current bill would require people to report their space findings to the police, and if not, you may face jail time. 

Ken Kremer of Space UpClose said companies’ intellectual property rights are at stake. 

"You want these parts to get back to the company so they can figure out what went wrong! You don’t know where the clue is going to be," Kremer said.  "Most of these people, they just want to sell them on eBay, but they have no idea the importance of these parts."

Sponsors of the bill said it has two more stops in the Florida House, and a similar bill is passing through the Florida Senate.

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