If you’re in a plane, and you for some reason don’t believe that flying is possible, and you decide the best way to express this is to argue with the pilot, you should only expect one outcome: You will be humiliated in public. Do not do this.
Similarly, if you are a flat Earth advocate – either in troll form or you’re a dyed-in-the-wool believer – and you argue with an astronaut, you will get precisely the same outcome. The latest example of this comes courtesy of a British TV show, Good Morning Britain.
The astro-star this time around was former NASA astronaut Colonel Terry Virts, an award-winning pilot who retired from the venerable space agency just last year. He’s spent 200 days on the International Space Station (ISS), and is a pretty awesome science communicator.
Clearly amused and a little baffled by the resurgence in the flat Earth conspiracy theory, the hosts of Good Morning Britain invited Virts onto their show.
“Let me just ask you: Is the Earth round or flat?” one host asked.
“It’s round,” he responded.
“How do we know?” the host fired back.
“Well, so they put me on a space shuttle. They hit the red button and they launched me into space going eastbound at 17,000 miles per hour. Thankfully, I came back around to the other side. If the Earth was flat, I would have just kept going.”
Then a man named Mark Sargent appears via video link. All you need to know about this person is that he considers the planet to be flat.
“I think the Earth is flat, and the biggest reason is – go to the beach with a high-powered HD camera and look off into the distance. Ten, fifteen years ago, you could see ships go off into the horizon,” he began.
“Now, you can bring them back into frame. All you need to do is crank up the zoom.”
He then adds, like a horrible ode to Shakespeare or The Truman Show: “All the world’s a stage. We’re basically living on a big sound stage and nobody figured it out until 1956.”
Virts then produces photographs he himself took from space, clearly showing the curvature of our rather beautiful blue marble, aurorae and all.
“I’m actually going to Antarctica this weekend, so I’ll look around for the guards down there that are keeping us safe,” he says, with a smile.
Sargent then explains that the reason people like Virts are lying to everyone is because if the world is flat, then it means “it was built by someone, which means you’re not alone.”
He goes on to say the Moon landings were faked too, but he doesn’t believe Elvis is still alive.