- “Mad” Mike Hughes, a self-described “rocket scientist,” launched himself almost 2,000 feet in the air in a homemade rocket.
- He landed hard and his rocket got dinged, but he is otherwise fine.
- Hughes said he wanted to “see for himself” whether the Earth is shaped like “a Frisbee” by going into space.
A flat-Earth believer launched himself almost 2,000 feet into the air in a homemade rocket on Sunday.
“Mad” Mike Hughes, who is 61 years old, ascended 1,875 in his crowd-funded rocket before crashing back to Earth in the Mojave desert outside of Amboy, California.
“I’m tired of people saying I chickened out and didn’t build a rocket. I’m tired of that stuff. I manned up and did it,” Hughes told The Associated Press after he landed. Apart from a sore back and dinged-up rocket, Hughes told the AP he was “totally fine.”
Hughes has generated controversy over his scientifically unsupported belief that the Earth is flat and shaped, as he describes it, “like a Frisbee.” In a video posted on his Facebook page, he said his goal for the launch was to see the Earth’s shape.
“Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? I believe it is. Do I know for sure? No,” Hughes said. “That’s why I want to go up in space.”
His rocket hit speeds of up to 350 miles per hour before Hughes pulled his parachute. He had to deploy a second parachute to keep from hitting the ground too hard.
“This thing wants to kill you 10 different ways,” Hughes told the AP. He added, however, that he’s glad he pulled the launch off.
“Am I glad I did it? Yeah. I guess. I’ll feel it in the morning. I won’t be able to get out of bed. At least I can go home and have dinner and see my cats tonight,” Hughes told the AP.
Hughes built the rocket in his garage over months, but his launch date – originally set for November – was repeatedly scrubbed due to mechanical issues and conflicts with the Bureau of Land Management. Once it was finally ready to launch, he and his team jury-rigged a mobile home trailer into a launch ramp.
Footage of the launch was caught and live-streamed by Noize TV.
There are, however, much easier ways to prove the Earth isn’t flat without launching yourself into the atmosphere. For instance, as author Stuart Clark told Business Insider, you can easily perceive the planet’s curvature by watching ships leave a harbour and disappear over the horizon.
Hughes, however, rejects such demonstrations and still isn’t even satisfied by what he saw from nearly 2,000 feet up. Next, he wants to build and launch himself in what he calls a “rockoon,” a rocket that’s carried into the upper atmosphere by a balloon and then launched. Hughes said the rocket would take him 68 miles above the Earth’s surface.
“My story really is incredible,” Hughes told the AP. “It’s got a bunch of storylines – the garage-built thing. I’m an older guy. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, plus the Flat Earth. The problem is it brings out all the nuts also, people questioning everything. It’s the downside of all this.”
Besides investigating whether the Earth is flat by launching himself into space, Hughes has political ambitions: He wants to run for governor of California.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Here’s the full video of the launch from Noize TV: