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Space

Flat Earther's Homemade Rocket Launcher Breaks Down in His Driveway (desertsun.com) 246

The Desert Sun has an update on the progress of 61-year-old self-taught rocket scientist 'Mad' Mike Hughes: A man who believes Earth is flat, and was ready to launch himself from a rocket in California on Saturday afternoon to prove it, has canceled his plans. At least for now. Not having the required federal permits plus mechanical problems with his "motorhome/rocket launcher" forced self-taught rocket scientist "Mad" Mike Hughes to put his experiment on hold. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management "told me they would not allow me to do the event ... at least not at that location," Hughes said in a YouTube announcement, amid international attention over his plans to launch into the "atmosflat."

"It's been very disappointing," he said... "My feeling is that one of the top executives at the Bureau of Land Management called Needles, California, saying... 'What's going on? Who permitted this?'" Hughes said. Plus, as he and his team were preparing to leave Wednesday, the motorhome/rocket launcher broke down in his driveway, he said... His plan is to try again next week.

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Flat Earther's Homemade Rocket Launcher Breaks Down in His Driveway

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    He hopes someday his rocket will go higher than a building.

  • by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @05:39PM (#55622013)
    Both Mad Mike and the Coyote have been shopping at ACME.
    • by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @07:03PM (#55622355)
      At least the Coyote's rockets didn't break in his driveway
    • The difference is, Coyote had to mail order it all, using money.

      This guy got the flat earthers to pay him to build the rocket. It isn't his first rocket; his first one was also human-cannonball style.

      He converted to flat-earther when they agreed to pay him to do this, and fund construction. That is why it has their ad on the side.

      It is almost impressive the way he's gone from, "yeah, they're paying me to do it!" to just spewing their talking points wholeheartedly as the event approaches.

      He's a stunt man. It

  • These flying wings can get to 15,000+ feet and are under $10,000 including training. (highest paraglider of any kind was 24,848 feet)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    Bonus points- you can't see curvature of the earth from that low.

    • A weather balloon, and a camera are a hell of a lot cheaper.

      https://phys.org/news/2017-01-... [phys.org]

    • funny, at an altitude of the height of my eyeballs I can see evidence of the curvature of the earth as things move away with the bottoms disappearing first as they go "over the horizon"

      • by Motard ( 1553251 )

        I like watching bottoms too.

      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @09:53PM (#55622999)

        The reason for this according to flat earthers is that the light "falls down" and thus it LOOKS like the ships disappear into the horizon but instead what really happens is that the light from the ship falls down in front of you. First, of course, you start to no longer see the lower parts, because they're closer to the ground.

        Discussing flat earthers and other fringe theorists is a bit of a hobby of mine. They're a really creative bunch.

        • wow, so we live on the surface of a neutron star. that's why shoveling dirt is so tiring.

        • Faith allows one to believe the unbelievable. Indeed that is often the point. The anti-science firestorm we are witnessing is fascinating and somewhat scary, but it is nothing new. The other term for The Dark Ages is The Age of Faith. Truth was defined by a doctrine of authority, not necessarily by evidence. This served the power elite. Then the Church. We now have powerful institutions whose interests often run counter to scientific evidence. So they contrive a doctrine of authority deliberately by bribing

      • I wouldn't even bother with rational arguments. I'd bet that not one in a thousand who claim to "seriously believe" in a flat earth would actually stake their life on the correctness of their beliefs. They're just fans of ridiculous conspiracy theories, are contrarian by nature, or are desperate to seek attention (that describes this fellow, I think). The amount of physical evidence you'd have to willfully ignore to maintain such beliefs is somewhat staggering.

        • If he has as inquiring a mind as he claims, and has resources and is handy as he seems to be, then I have to wonder why he isn't off to find the edge of the world, that would prove us all wrong.
          • Because apparently the edge of the world, what we mistakenly believe to be "Antarctica", is a giant ice ring 150 feet tall that holds all the oceans in, and is zealously guarded by NASA. Eclipses are hand-waved away with some "invisible" object that's blocking light. I don't know how the hell they explain away tides, or the Coriolis effect. GPS satellites are fakes to simply give the *illusion* of being on a globe. All NASA pictures are "Photoshopped", nevermind that the technology to effectively fake p

            • From my experience many simply want to put themselves back in the centre of the universe - its a spiritual thing. Basically, they don't want to buy into the 'nihilistic' perspective that it is an uncaring universe and they are a tiny irrerevant spec (not how they would put it, but from reading between the lines and knowing them personally). Flat Earth and many other conspiracies help them create a world view where not only is the Earth at the centre of a much simpler universe (one probably created by God/Go

        • Dude, he's seeking attention because they're paying him to do it with their logo on the side. Seeking attention is what advertising is about!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Bonus points- you can't see curvature of the earth from that low.

      Why do you have to see the curvature for proof?
      Pick a direction and keep flying that way, he'll either
      A. Circumnavigate the earth and come back to where he started, proving Flat Earth wrong.
      B. Eventually come to the end of the Flat Earth, and will be able to get photographic proof (that no Flat Earther has yet ever managed to provide)
      C. Keep going and end up in strange lands not on any map.

      But then again, watching some deluded twat do his best Wile E Coyote impression into a rock fac

      • A. Circumnavigate the earth and come back to where he started, proving Flat Earth wrong.

        The same thing happened in King's Quest II and I'm pretty sure all the zones were flat.

      • Their counter argument is that the Earth is a disc with the north pole at the center and the "south pole" actually being the edge of the disc. So circumnavigation is possible, but instead of around the ball, you travel along a circle on the disc.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Problem is circumnavigating at the tropic of Capricorn https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] versus the tropic of cancer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]. They are kind of much the same distance rather than one being well, enormously larger than the other.

          You could feel sorry for their lack of ability to understand but their world via their abilities to perceive and understand must be full of wonderment and magic, ignorance is bliss ( understanding kind of strips the fun out things, well at least at one level

          • Exactly. At one level I have to admire their world building skills. They should channel it into game design instead.

    • This specific launch wasn't meant to prove the Earth is flat. It was meant to be a stepping stone to an eventual space launch.

  • I'd like to encourage him, these amateur science projects are bound to encounter stangs from time to time, but on the other hand I don;t want to be complicit in him blowing himself up, so I'm torn...
    • Re:encouragement (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sdinfoserv ( 1793266 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @06:18PM (#55622151) Homepage
      If you read the article, he states he does he does NOT believe in science. "There’s no difference between science and science fiction.”, he continues. So, in the name of "Non-Science", lets encourage this asshat to an expedient joining of the Darwin Awards club.
      • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

        I fully encourage this splat-earther mission. May Darwin bless him.

    • I'm fairly certain that if he can get the project off the ground it will be a big hit...
      Feel free to write your own on target, large impact, smashing success and sky's the limit jokes...
  • His "team" (Score:4, Funny)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @05:50PM (#55622049)

    ... as he and his team were preparing to leave Wednesday ...

    Meaning, his wife, dog, and two grand-kids visiting for Thanksgiving -- all holding globes of the Earth they got at the airport gift shop (and, yes, that includes the dog).

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @05:55PM (#55622061)

    “I don’t believe in science,” said Hughes, whose main sponsor for the rocket is Research Flat Earth. “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.”

    I can't even ...

    • “I don’t believe in science,” said Hughes, whose main sponsor for the rocket is Research Flat Earth. “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.”

      I can't even ...

      If words fail you that's OK, they let him down pretty badly too...

    • I haven't been evening since he was quoted as saying this a few days ago. I'm not actually sure if I can even again.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I can't even ...

      Apparently neither can he.

  • by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @06:06PM (#55622105)
    Kind of sums it all up.
    • Motorhome/rocket-launcher?

      That's something I expect from North Korea or a 1980s Bill Murray movie. Sometimes I get the two confused.

  • scientist (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @06:16PM (#55622139)

    >"forced self-taught rocket scientist "Mad" Mike "

    "scientist", really? Seems like a very odd word to use in a summary explaining he seriously [??] thinks the earth is flat?

    Perhaps self-taught mechanic, or self-taught assembler or something.

    • "scientist", really?

      I mean... he has a hypothesis and he's testing it. Sounds like science. Still a nutjob.

      • "scientist", really?

        I mean... he has a hypothesis and he's testing it. Sounds like science. Still a nutjob.

        What exactly ie the hypothesis? For the life of me, I can't think of anything that would prove the earth flat or globular at 1500 feet.

        This is just more 21st century American reality Television race to the bottom bullshit where we make stupid people famous. And my gawd, it shows. The best thing to come out of it might be his life serving as a warning to others.

    • "scientist", really?

      Contrary to popular belief, there are stupid scientists. There's no rule that says scientists have to be brilliant and smart, they can be stupid and dimwitted too.

      Heck, may as well go on and say, there are probably more stupid scientists than smart ones. There's no reason the scientist label is exempt from the norm of humanity. Way more stupid than there is smart.

      • "scientist", really?

        Contrary to popular belief, there are stupid scientists. There's no rule that says scientists have to be brilliant and smart, they can be stupid and dimwitted too.

        Now explain how a person who states that he doesn't believe in science can be a scientist. Most of us have a belief in science as a mandatory requirement.

    • "scientist", really? Seems like a very odd word to use in a summary explaining he seriously [??] thinks the earth is flat?

      If you map the earth in a spherical reference frame [xkcd.com], it's flat.

  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @06:17PM (#55622145)
    There is a massive conspiracy to cover up the fact that the earth is flat. That is why secret operatives sent by no other than the United Nations and led by Colonel Kofi Annan personally broke his trailer. Once the truth gets out about what you see when you rocketeer above 300 feet, the world will never be the same again. What is that I hear you say? There are buildings taller than that? Those buildings are only real up to 299 feet. Everything above that is a strikingly realistic hologram. In fact, if you get into an elevator in a very tall building and press the button for the top floor, you are never seen again. They take you out of the elevator on the "extraction floor" at 299 feet, take you to the secret underground United Nations subterranean train station that was secretly built under every tall building 200 years ago, and send you on a one way journey to the edge of the world. What happens when you get there? You get thrown over the edge. Where do you land when they do that? On your ass of course.
  • by cahuenga ( 3493791 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @06:28PM (#55622199)

    So he builds a rocket expected to reach 1,500 feet.... When there is an 11,500 foot mountain 50 miles from Amboy with a trail right to the tippy top.and a 360 degree view of the horizon - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Call me crazy but I really don't think this has anything to do with 'flat earth', science or rockets. He got his picture in the paper. End of story.

    • He should launch from the top.
    • So he builds a rocket expected to reach 1,500 feet.... When there is an 11,500 foot mountain 50 miles from Amboy with a trail right to the tippy top.and a 360 degree view of the horizon - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Call me crazy but I really don't think this has anything to do with 'flat earth', science or rockets. He got his picture in the paper. End of story.

      Or if he didn't want to make the drive he could have taken a ride in a hot air balloon: [hotairballoon.org]

      HOW HIGH DO BALLOONS GO?

      Flights in hot air balloons have been recorded at over 50,000 feet. However, the sport of ballooning is most enjoyable when flying 1,200 to 3,000 feet. Or just above the treetops. When balloons fly over populated areas, they maintain an altitude of at least 1,000 feet.

      This has nothing to do with proving a flat earth, it's entirely about the publicity and the fact he wanted to make a rocket.

    • So he builds a rocket expected to reach 1,500 feet.... When there is an 11,500 foot mountain 50 miles from Amboy with a trail right to the tippy top.and a 360 degree view of the horizon - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Call me crazy but I really don't think this has anything to do with 'flat earth', science or rockets. He got his picture in the paper. End of story.

      He wants a reality show series on the Discovery Channel that comes on right after Ancielt Aliens.

    • It's a test launch on the path to an eventual space flight. He says.

    • by cyn1c77 ( 928549 )

      So he builds a rocket expected to reach 1,500 feet.... When there is an 11,500 foot mountain 50 miles from Amboy with a trail right to the tippy top.and a 360 degree view of the horizon - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Call me crazy but I really don't think this has anything to do with 'flat earth', science or rockets. He got his picture in the paper. End of story.

      Lies!

      Did you not RTFA? The earth is flat!

      That "mountain" is clearly an optical illusion!

    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

      Yeah, basic fail there.

      And in the desert, there are days when you can visually "prove" that the Earth is not flat, but rather is a concave bowl: damp morning and a local inversion can turn valleys into lenses that produce this bowl-like optical illusion, and also let you see distant stuff that's normally over the horizon.

    • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

      I think the actual reason is that he was worried about crashing his rocket... with no survivors. Now was, in fact, the time for fear.

    • With no desert

      That must be why he is so keen to launch this thing in the desert, because his mom wouldn't give him any.

      But she gave him plenty of dessert, which is why he didn't become a pastry chef.

  • I hope it blows up spectacularly. He'll get a darwin award for sure.

  • Just to be clear... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 25, 2017 @07:04PM (#55622363)

    I'm not convinced this guy is really a "flat earther." Apparently, he only started "believing" in it within the last year or so, and after his first failed Kickstarted didn't generate enough backers. Suddenly, he starts advertising his Flat Earth chops and his follow up Kickstarter gets the attention needed for proper funding.

    Sounds more like a marketing tactic to me...

    Anyway, I'm not trying to call the guy out as some kind of Flat Earth Wannabe or anything, but the media seems really committed to playing right into his hand.

  • Almost all rockets are steam powered. It's what you get when you burn hydrogen. He may very well have made a perfectly usable rocket.
  • Brother, the place you're looking for is Black Rock City. You will be welcomed as a hero my friend. Google "burning man" and ask for an artists grant.
  • by gijoel ( 628142 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @07:28PM (#55622419)
    He might have hit one of the turtles.
  • by sandbagger ( 654585 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @08:16PM (#55622603)

    They just want to keep their monopoly on chemical reactions and Newtonian mechanics.

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      They just want to keep their monopoly on chemical reactions and Newtonian mechanics.

      You just gave me a great idea... I'm going to patent Physics! Thank you so much I'm going to be RICH!!!

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday November 25, 2017 @09:23PM (#55622869) Journal

    I drove through Needles, California back in August when we moved here to the Central Coast from Houston. I can understand why he would want to launch himself into space.

  • I bet this guy has us all tricked and he is really just trying to win the Darwin Award.
    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      I bet this guy has us all tricked and he is really just trying to win the Darwin Award.

      And the golden casket award for best Darwin award goes to....(drum roll)...

  • An immediate conclusion of Earth being flat is it having edges. Where these people think that these parts are located and how are they picturing them? It would make much more sense to believe in it being a cube or any other 3D geometry avoiding that 2D limitation of having boundaries/edges/end. You don't even need to ever find such boundaries to understand that they are extremely incompatible with things like seas; or how should seas deal with the edges of the world? Water systematically falling down? To wh
  • ...considering the intelligence of someone who believes the Earth is flat despite the fact that Eratostenes proved that it was curved in the 3rd Century BC:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
  • Does he also not believe that airplanes get to 35,000 ft? I mean, why launch yourself a few thousand feet using a steam rocket when you could buy a nice comfy first class ticket and enjoy the view of the curvature from 35,000 ft?

    Unless he thinks that a large chunk of the human population (air travelers) is in on the conspiracy.

  • I just got done polishing and shining up his Darwin Award too...

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