An amateur rocket-maker finally launched himself off Earth. Now to prove it’s flat …

Mike Hughes, a California man who is most known for his belief that the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee, finally blasted off into the sky in a steam-powered rocket he had built himself.

The 61-year-old limo driver and daredevil-turned-rocket-maker soared about 1,875 feet above the Mojave Desert on Saturday afternoon, the Associated Press reported. Hughes’s white-and-green rocket, bearing the words “FLAT EARTH,” propelled vertically about 3 p.m. Pacific time and reached a speed of about 350 mph, Waldo Stakes, who has been helping Hughes, told the AP. Hughes deployed two parachutes while landing, the second one just moments before he plopped down not far from his launching point.

video shows that the whole endeavor, from the moment his rocket went up to the moment he landed, lasted about a minute.

Mike Hughes’s homemade rocket launches near Amboy, Calif., on Saturday. The self-taught rocket scientist, who believes Earth is flat, propelled himself about 1,875 feet into the air before a hard landing in the Mojave Desert. (Matt Hartman/AP)

The vertical launch, which happened without a countdown more than 200 miles east of Los Angeles, came amid growing skepticism that Hughes would ever lift himself off. The launch had been postponed multiple times, partly because Hughes said he couldn’t get permission from a federal agency to conduct it on public land.

After he landed Saturday, Hughes told the AP that he was “relieved” but that he expected to feel the physical toll of it all the next day.

“Am I glad I did it? Yeah. I guess. I’ll feel it in the morning. I won’t be able to get out of bed,” he said. “At least I can go home and have dinner and see my cats tonight.”

He also said he’d been frustrated with assumptions that he “chickened out,” so he “manned up and did it.”

Hughes had been on a mission to prove that the Earth is flat and that NASA astronauts such as John Glenn and Neil Armstrong were merely paid actors performing in front of a computer-generated image of a round globe. His previous failed attempts, as well as the successful one on Saturday, are all part of his ultimate goal to propel himself at least 52 miles above Earth by the end of the year — and to prove once and for all that the planet is flat.

On March 6, self-taught rocket scientist Mike Hughes began repairing a steam leak after scrubbing a launch attempt near Amboy, Calif. (James Quigg/Daily Press/AP)

Hughes had initially planned to launch his rocket in November, but he postponed it, claiming the Bureau of Land Management told him he couldn’t do so on federal land. A spokeswoman for the agency, however, said its field office has no record of speaking with Hughes.

The launch was postponed again later that month, as Hughes moved his launching point to a private property near Amboy, Calif., an unincorporated community in the Mojave Desert.

“It’s still happening. We’re just moving it three miles down the road,” Hughes told The Washington Post in late November, as he hauled the rocket to the new spot. “I don’t see [the launch] happening until about Tuesday, honestly. It takes three days to set up. . . . You know, it’s not easy because it’s not supposed to be easy.”

In February, Hughes finally attempted his flight, but his rocket didn’t ignite. He blamed technical difficulties.

The Sharp family of Creston, Iowa, was found dead inside a condominium while vacationing in Tulum, Mexico. Authorities said March 23 no foul play was suspected.

To Hughes’s credit, he has shown some skills in building rockets. He set a Guinness World Record in 2002 for a limousine jump, according to Ars Technica, and has been building rockets for years, albeit with mixed results. He built his first manned rocket in 2014, the AP reported, and managed to fly a quarter-mile over Winkelman, Ariz.

According to the AP, Hughes’s hard landing on Saturday left him injured, though it is unclear what type of injuries he suffered. Photos show paramedics carrying Hughes on a stretcher and into an ambulance.

Also among Hughes’s plans — aside from trying to get to space — is to run for governor.

“This is no joke,” he told the AP. “I want to do it.”

Mike Hughes is carried on a stretcher after his rocket landed in the Mojave Desert on Saturday. (Matt Hartman/AP)

Flat Earthers Are Mad at Elon Musk for Putting a Tesla in Space

“You are so brainwashed that you believe anything NASA tells you, and now you believe Elon.”

A red car blasting David Bowie as it floats around the Earth has become a real bee in the bonnet for the Flat Earth community.

To fill you in on why these cosmographically confused folks are scrambling, on Tuesday SpaceX—the private aerospace manufacturer and space transport founded and run by Elon Musk—successfully launched and landed Falcon Heavy, which was dubbed the most powerful operational reusable rocket in the world. The Falcon’s payload was a red Tesla roadster playing an infinite loop of Space Oddity with a dummy in it, which then floated around the Earth—its final destination is Mars.

The Tesla’s time in the void was live streamed and people quickly used the opportunity to dunk on Flat Earthers. Twitter even made a moment called “Did Elon Musk just shut down the Flat Earth conspiracy?” (Quick tip: the answer to the question is no, Eratosthenes did that like 2,000 years ago.)

Both the non-stop dunking and the clear view of a round Earth understandably peeved off those who adhere to the wisdom of Kyrie Irving. Some are saying that the stunt was actually made to distract people from the fact that Tesla filed their biggest ever quarterly loss recently; others are saying it’s all part of an evil Illuminati plan. Some say that the entire production was computer generated while others are of the belief that it was filmed in a studio a la the moon landing.


The only thing the Flat Earth community seems to agree on though, is that they think the stunt was fake as hell.

It’s already been reported that the Flat Earth Society was upset with Musk for the stunt they described as “a good car ad.” In a tweet—the society actually has a pretty good Twitter game—they stated: “people who believe that the Earth is a globe because ‘they saw a car in space on the Internet’ must be the new incarnation of ‘It’s true, I saw it on TV!’ It’s a poor argument.”

“Why would we believe any privately-held company to report the truth?”

In all fairness to FES, that last point is pretty good but, you know, broken clock right twice a day and all that. However, it’s not just the intellectual leaders of the movement who are upset with Musk but the whole lot.

Now, to be completely candid, the Flat Earth community is a hard one to pin down and report on because of all the trolls who co-exist side-by-side with the true believers. To exacerbate the matter, many of the trolls tend to write in a similar cadence as the zealots in order to push them further down the rabbit hole for, and I’m assuming here, lulz. That said, this is a community that one can safely assume adheres strongly to Poe’s Law—the idea that it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views without someone believing them.

Like many other, shall we say, niche communities, Flat-Earthers have found a home on YouTube and have created video after video “debunking” the launch. In one incredibly perplexing video that has 20,000 views, the commentator connects the Eagles winning the Super Bowl to the “flight of the falcon,” relates the term Saturn to Satan, says the rocket is shaped like a Satanic “penis,” sees Illuminati pyramids in the roadster, and uses the fact that the video was shot on a fisheye lens as proof it’s a fake.

Musician and newly converted Flat Earther Delano Edwards, who has half a million followers on YouTube, made a video called “FLAT EARTH PROOF (ELON MUSK SPACEX FALCON HEAVY WAS FAKE)!!!!” and lays out several points like “where the fuck the stars at?” “why ain’t it spinnin’?” and “where the fuck the satellites at?”

“You make billions of dollars every fucking year and this is the best shit you can come up with? From us being Flat-Earthers at least let us say ‘well you did a good job this time,’ I can do better than this with five dollars and the green screen I got,” says Edwards.

“You gotta be a retarded person to believe that this shit is real. Wake the fuck up.”

It’s not just the YouTube Flat Earthers who are getting cranky over the stunt. On the Flat Earth Society forum several of the topics of conversation are all related to the SpaceX launch. One of them goes for a ridiculous 150 messages with the posters bitching about Musk and putting their heads together to try and prove how the launch was either fake or actually proves Flat Earth theory.

There are users in the forum pushing back on the Flat Earthers, who are then disparaged by the true believers as “muskbots.” Like all online activity, most of the threads quickly turn into flame wars.

“Cursing Elon, gimme a break. We are laughing at you and the Elon fanboys. I think (it) is funny that you boys believe that his Tesla is flying in space,” reads one such message written by a user named Hoppy. “You are so brainwashed that you believe anything NASA tells you, and now you believe Elon. It is pitiful and funny at the same time.”

Indeed, all the Flat Earth theories, arguments, and ways of spreading them vary greatly but, there was one unifying point—other than that it was fake—made at least once in every video and forum thread, it was the fact that Bowie fucking rules.

At the end of the day, you know what, it’s nice to know we can all agree on something.




The 433 Eros is a peanut-shaped (or peanut) asteroid, and is composed of magnesium and iron silicates, most common in the inner asteroid belt. It was discovered on 13 August 1898 by astronomers Carl Gustav Witt in Berlin and Auguste Charlois in Germany. In February 2001 the NASA spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker landed on its surface.(Old Mining Machine on Eros Asteroid)

The probe obtained more than 160,000 images and identified more than 100,000 craters. In this way, the researchers discovered that Eros is a solid object and not a set of debris joined by gravity. Their study is important so that scientists can decide how best to avoid potential impact in the future.

The curious thing is that in several of the photographs that were obtained, numerous “anomalies” appear that NASA seems to overlook, considering them simple rocks. Something whose morphology in no way resembles natural structures.

This particular image of Eros, taken from the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft on May 1, 2000, at an orbiting altitude of 53 kilometers, shows, according to NASA, a large rectangular rock of 45 meters in diameter.(Old Mining Machine on Eros Asteroid)

But is it really a rock or could it be some kind of old mining machine?

Given that the spacecraft data collected from Eros in December 1998 suggests that it could contain 20 billion kilograms of aluminum and similar amounts of metals that are rare on Earth, such as gold and platinum … is it not unlikely that the call rock is a mining machine that has been used by an advanced alien civilization for the extraction of all these valuable metals? Here is an interesting JL videoprogram for Unknown World.

NASA Wants To Probe Uranus In Search Of Gas

We hear a lot about Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, and that’s because we have extremely fancy hardware floating around and, in some cases, cruising on the surface of those planets. The planets that lie further away from the Sun don’t get nearly as much attention, but they may soon, as NASA is currently spitballing some missions that will give us a better look at Uranus than we’ve ever gotten.

The theoretical missions, which would see NASA spacecraft heading to both Uranus and Neptune, would be of huge scientific benefit.

The idea is to determine what the planets are made of, get an idea of the atmospheric composition, and take lots of fantastic photographs, too. 

Researchers hope to study the weather and overall climate of the planets, while determining how they fit into the overall makeup of our Solar System.

Both Uranus and Neptune still hold many secrets yet to be revealed, and the proposed missions would include both flybys and an orbiter that would send an atmospheric probe to Uranus in order to sample its gasses and detect elements. A similar option exists for Neptune, though the actual details of the mission(s) would need to be fully fleshed out before it comes anywhere near a formal proposal.

The missions are still a long way from reality, both in funding and in timeframe. NASA says that 2030 through 2036 would be feasible for a Uranus trip, while a Neptune mission would need to take place before 2030 or after 2040, due to the timing of a gravity-assisted boost around Jupiter.



Finally: Weed Goes to Space

In today’s let’s-send-seemingly-random-shit-to-space news, here’s 95 cannabis seeds, one cannabis clone, and one fat joint getting lifted 19 miles above the Earth aboard a weather balloon. Because weed in space. The puns are inescapable, but nevertheless, this is the first time the devil’s cabbage has gotten this high. 

Or is it? Dale Chamberlain, a former NASA botanist who’s building automated, off-the-shelf, low-footprint grow boxes for the everystoner, may tell you otherwise. Having spent a good chunk of the ’90s on a research team that built zero-gravity plant grow chambers that flew a number of missions on the Shuttle Endeavour–and that would later link up with the International Space Station–Chamberlain knows a thing or two about interplanetary agriculture.  (One of the strains Chamberlain recently showed us in his home grow? A sativa-dominant hybrid that he calls International Space Station.) With a wink and a nod he told me that he’ll “let the rumor float” as to whether or not he and others involved in designing NASA’s Plant Generic Processing Apparatus slyly snuck a few pot seeds into orbit in their day.

We can only wonder. Catch Chamberlain talking about those heady days in part two of High Country, Motherboard’s new doc on the America’s tech-enabled cannabis industry.