- “Mad” Mike Hughes, a self-described rocket scientist, launched himself almost 2,000 feet in the air in a homemade rocket over the weekend.
- He landed hard, and his rocket got dinged, but he is otherwise fine.
- Hughes said he wanted to see for himself whether the Earth was shaped like “a Frisbee” by going into space.
A man who believes the Earth is flat launched himself almost 2,000 feet into the air in a homemade rocket over the weekend.
“Mad” Mike Hughes, 61, ascended 1,875 feet in his crowdfunded rocket on Saturday before crashing back to Earth in the Mojave Desert outside Amboy, California.
“I’m tired of people saying I chickened out and didn’t build a rocket – I’m tired of that stuff,” Hughes told The Associated Press after landing. “I manned up and did it.”
Apart from a sore back and dinged-up rocket, Hughes told the AP he was fine.
Hughes has generated controversy over his scientifically unsupported belief that the Earth is flat and shaped “like a Frisbee,” as he describes it.
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,” Hughes said. “Do I know for sure? No. That’s why I want to go up in space.”
Hughes’ rocket hit estimated speeds of 350 mph before he 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 of his rocket.
But he added that he was glad he pulled off the launch.
“I’ll feel it in the morning – I won’t be able to get out of bed,” Hughes told the AP. “At least I can go home and have dinner and see my cats tonight.”
Hughes built the rocket in his garage over months, but his launch date, initially set for November, was repeatedly scrubbed because of mechanical issues and conflicts with the Bureau of Land Management.
Once the rocket was finally ready to launch, Hughes and his team jury-rigged a mobile-home trailer into a launch ramp.
Noize TV livestreamed footage of the launch.
There are, however, much easier ways to prove the Earth isn’t flat without launching yourself into the atmosphere. For instance, as the author Stuart Clark told Business Insider, you can easily perceive the planet’s curvature by watching ships leave a harbor and disappear over the horizon.
But Hughes says he still isn’t satisfied by what he saw from a height of nearly 2,000 feet. Next, he wants to build a rocket carried into the upper atmosphere by a balloon and then launched – something he calls a “rockoon.” Hughes said such a craft 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 wants to run for governor of California.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.