Looking for Life on a Flat Earth

Jun 5, 2018

By Alan Burdick

On the last Sunday afternoon in March, Mike Hughes, a sixty-two-year-old limousine driver from Apple Valley, California, successfully launched himself above the Mojave Desert in a homemade steam-powered rocket. He’d been trying for years, in one way or another. In 2002, Hughes set a Guinness World Record for the longest ramp jump—a hundred and three feet—in a limo, a stretch Lincoln Town Car. In 2014, he allegedly flew thirteen hundred and seventy-four feet in a garage-built rocket and was injured when it crashed. He planned to try again in 2016, but his Kickstarter campaign, which aimed to raise a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, netted just two supporters and three hundred and ten dollars. Further attempts were scrubbed—mechanical problems, logistical hurdles, hassles from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Finally, a couple of months ago, he made good. Stuff was leaking, bolts needed tightening, but at around three o’clock, and with no countdown, Hughes blasted off from a portable ramp—attached to a motorhome he’d bought through Craigslist—soared to nearly nineteen hundred feet, and, after a minute or so, parachuted less than gently back to Earth.

For all of that, Hughes might have attracted little media attention were it not for his outspoken belief that the world is flat. “Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? I believe it is,” he told the Associated Press. “Do I know for sure? No. That’s why I want to go up in space.”

Hughes converted fairly recently. In 2017, he called in to the Infinite Plane Society, a live-stream YouTube channel that discusses Earth’s flatness and other matters, to announce his beliefs and ambitions and ask for the community’s endorsement. Soon afterward, The Daily Plane, a flat-Earth information site (“News, Media and Science in a post-Globe Reality”), sponsored a GoFundMe campaign that raised more than seventy-five hundred dollars on Hughes’s behalf, enabling him to make the Mojave jump with the words “Research Flat Earth” emblazoned on his rocket.

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2 comments on “Looking for Life on a Flat Earth

  • @OP – enabling him to make the Mojave jump with the words
    “Research Flat Earth” emblazoned on his rocket.

    He obviously belongs to the, “Were you there?”, school of “research”! – As most people would access images from the numerous cameras which are already orbiting the Earth, and the archive footage from astronauts who have previously photographed it!

    . . . . successfully launched himself above the Mojave Desert in a homemade steam-powered rocket.

    Perhaps he is not very good at rocket research either, as the Black Knight steam powered rockets flew, – way back in history!


    One of the lesser known rocket fuels is hydrogen peroxide. Only the British have used it to any extent, developing increasingly sophisticated motors in the period from the late 1940s to the early 1970s.

    Hydrogen peroxide has the chemical formula H2O2. It is easily decomposed, and breaks down into water and oxygen:

    The Germans used HTP to drive the turbine for the fuel pump of the V2/A4 rocket. Calcium permanganate was used, although this resulted in a very messy exhaust.

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  • There is a problem in the world today that worries me very much, the existence of individuals, whose number seems to be increasing, with a huge need to accept fake news and return to the primitive beliefs of ancient tribal societies. I think that science, such as neurology, psychology and others related to human behavior, should study this phenomenon to find a solution to it because if it continues to spread it could put our societies on the road to decadence. What makes these people accept such beliefs long time rejected by the evidence of science? I think our liberal democratic societies have reached the stage in which any illiterate jerk thinks he has the right to publish his ignorance the same way that a learned academic institution has the right to publish its findings. We all should be concerned.

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