A man who suspects the earth is flat has built a rocket he hopes will launch him high enough to debunk one of the world’s most fundamental facts.
Half a millennium of science isn’t about to get between ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes and his dream, and he’s raring to go. The 61-year-old limo driver from California plans to launch over the weekend.
He built the steam-powered vessel using scrap metal and estimates it cost about about $20,000 (£15,000).
He plans to travel for about a mile at a speed of around 500 miles per hour, soaring through the sky above the Mojave Desert.
“I don’t believe in science,” Mr Hughes told the Associated Press (AP). “I know about aerodynamics and fluid dynamics and how things move through the air, about the certain size of rocket nozzles, and thrust. But that’s not science, that’s just a formula. There’s no difference between science and science fiction.”
While rocket science is often upheld as the epitome of complex scientific thought, a decidedly unscientific rationale underlies Mr Hughes’ mission.
He rejects the general consensus that the earth is spherical, and his flight is sponsored largely by a group called Research Flat Earth.
Hoping to prove flat Earth theory correct, Mr Hughes said his goal is to ascend high enough that he can gather evidence that disproves the widely accepted fact of a round earth.
In a recent interview with the Daily Plane, a website for adherents of the flat earth theory, Mr Hughes said he arrived at the belief fairly recently.
He added that another planned flight that will take him dozens of miles into space, allowing him to “prove once and for all this earth is flat”.
“It will shut the door on this ball earth,” he said, adding that he hoped his revelation would uncover other secrets.
“This is the king of the deceptions,” he said. “This is it. And once this domino falls and more people come to this side, then everything else — the dominos structure falls”.
However, this will not be the maiden voyage for Mr Hughes.
He reportedly took to the skies over Arizona in 2014, which he said saw him sustain injuries that incapacitated him for weeks.
But past misadventures haven’t fazed Mr Hughes. “If you’re not scared to death, you’re an idiot,” he told AP. “It’s scary as hell, but none of us are getting out of this world alive. I like to do extraordinary things that no one else can do, and no one in the history of mankind has designed, built and launched himself in his own rocket.”