Will a rocket ride to the skies finally prove to a flat-Earth conspiracy theorist that the world is indeed spherical in shape?
Will there be proof that the Earth is flat? [Image by Elena Schweitzer/Shutterstock]
You may have heard of a vocal 61-year-old flat earther called “Mad” Mike Hughes who isn’t convinced that the Earth is in the shape of a sphere (it is, just to be clear). He also apparently doesn’t believe in science, and thinks that schools are “programming centers”. He’s now known for attempting to launch a rocket in a bid to prove that the Earth is indeed flat.
Back in November of last year, Hughes was already set to launch a homemade rocket to the sky. However, this attempt never got off the ground due to government regulations. He had planned to go up to 550 meters above the Mojave Desert, a height from which he planned to take photos that prove his assertions that the Earth is a disc.
Mike Hughes doesn't like the term "flat earther", though he named his own rocket "Flat Earth". [Photo by Mike Hughes/Facebook]
Hughes planned to launch his rocket from a ramp built in a ghost town called Amboy. The rocket was supposed to fly at a speed of 500 mph, and Hughes was supposed to parachute to safety before the rocket crashed in a location about a mile away. However, this location happened to be within a property owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM put a stop on Hughes’s plans when they finally heard about it.
However, Hughes has reportedly built another rocket which he plans to launch from private land in Amboy on February 3. It seems that the intent is to have the rocket fly vertically and land in Hughes’s own property. This way, no pesky government entities will be able to stop the launch—at least, that’s the theory.
If it seems strange that a self-proclaimed non-believer in science was able to build a rocket, well, that’s because it is. "I know about aerodynamics and fluid dynamics and how things move through the air, about the certain size of rocket nozzles, and thrust,” Hughes says. “But that’s not science, that’s just a formula. There’s no difference between science and science fiction."
The best way to approach that quote may just be to not think about it too much and just go along with the ride.
Finding the curvature of the Earth
You may not be wondering why there are still people who believe that the Earth is flat, as though there hasn’t been about 2,000 years’ worth of proof that the Earth is indeed spherical. Plus, space agencies have also released photos showing Earth’s actual shape. So what gives?
Simply put, flat earthers don’t believe those agencies, or any proof from sources that they do not deem to be credible. Thus, they’ll likely be more inclined to believe someone from their own ranks. So if people like Hughes want to build rockets and ride them to the skies, maybe we should just stand back and let them.
However, Hughes has said that this rocket launch is just for publicity, not for proof of anything. He intends to then use that publicity to raise funds for a launch that’s high enough to actually see the curvature of the Earth. We can see the curvature of the Earth at a height of about 10,600 meters above the surface—much higher than Hughes’s initial rocket flight.
Thus, it may be a while yet before flat Earthers come around, but luckily the curvature of the Earth will always be there.
Get weekly science updates in your inbox!