When last we heard of “Mad Mike” Hughes, the 61-year-old limo driver and stuntman who planned on launching a $20,000 (£14,000) steam-fueled rocket with “RESEARCH FLAT EARTH” painted on the side some 1,800 feet into the air at 500 miles per hour, the gosh darn government had intervened to tell him he couldn’t conduct any such launch on public lands.
But Hughes has not been deterred, and in a number of posts on his Facebook page he claims to have a real launch planned for 3rd February. This one will be a vertical rather than horizontal launch, which Hughes believes will prevent him from crossing over into public property and thus getting in trouble with the government.
“That way we got enough buffer that when it lands, it will not be on [US Bureau of Land Management] property,” Hughes said in a video last week.
Hughes has launched homemade rockets with himself as the human cargo before, but he’s only recently become a Flat Earth convert at the same time he needed to raise further funds for DIY rocketry, according to the Washington Post.
It’s still not entirely clear what Hughes intends to prove with the launch because, as LiveScience noted, observing the curvature of the Earth requires one rise some 35,000 feet (10,700 metres) above the ground. Hughes’ rocket will not be capable of attaining anywhere near that height, which is good because videos of his parachutes are far from reassuring.
However, our guy is not a huge fan of the scientific disciplines anyhow, as he told the Associated Press in a prior interview:
I don’t believe in science. 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.
We’ve all been let down on this Flat-Earth-rocket stuff before, but Hughes seems pretty insistent that this time there will actually be a launch.
In a Facebook thread over the past few days, Hughes additionally announced there will be “No spectators” and that “Any drone flying near the private property will be shut down ... our own drones will be recording anyone filming and their license plates.”