“Mad” Mike Hughes, the world’s only flat-Earther rocket man, finally blasted off on his well-publicized mission yesterday before crashing back down to reality, shaken but relatively unharmed.
Giving him due credit, the launch was remarkably smooth, especially considering that the rocket was made by Hughes himself for a very small price.
On Saturday afternoon at around 3pm local time, Mad Mike flew 570 meters (1,875 feet) up into the skies above the Mojave Desert of California in his green rocket, branded with a giant “RESEARCH FLAT EARTH” sticker and a US flag on the side. His parachutes successfully sprung out as he reached its peak altitude and the rocket drifted back down to our globe.
The 61-year-old daredevil told The Associated Press (AP) that he felt fine after the launch, although he had an achy back from the jolty launch and heavy landing. Footage shows Hughes just after he was removed from the rocket looking a little worse for wear, although alive and moving, thankfully.
“Am I glad I did it?” Hughes said, speaking to the AP. “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.”
As for his personal scientific voyage, Hughes is still not convinced that Earth is a sphere. The launch was only supposed to be a publicity stunt for the “Flat Earth movement" and was not actually intended to verify the shape of the planet, Hughes claims. After all, a few hundred meters would not be high enough to see the curvature of the Earth – you need to be at least 10.7 kilometers (35,000 feet) high to directly observe that. That’s why Hughes has even taller ambitions to eventually launch himself into space and settle his mind once and for all.
“Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? I believe it is,” he said. “Do I know for sure? No. That’s why I want to go up in space.”
For the curious among you, here are a few simple ways you can prove to yourself and others that the Earth is not flat, without setting up your own space agency.
The whole launch was filmed for a NOIZE TV documentary about Hughes that was set for release later this year. However, Hughes posted on Sunday, March 25 that he "cut all ties with NOIZE TV last week."