Until the 5th century, people believed Earth to be flat. Rumors were, if one sets out to discover the end of the mass, they would reach a pointy edge. These theories were proven wrong by many scholars of the time- trillions of years later, this one man, unsatisfied with their discoveries took upon himself the charge to prove that the planet was flat.
Michael Hughes also known as ‘Mad Mike’ was a 64-year-old man from the Apple Valley whose homemade steam-powered rocket crashed last Saturday. He had been trying to prove that the Earth’s shape was not round but flat. Being from the conspiracy theorists sect he was quite a name amongst his colleagues and wanted to prove his point by taking a closer look from space. He with the help of his partner Waldo Stakes attempted to uncover heights as high as 5000 feet all whilst riding in a self-made rocket.
Their launch was also captured by the Homemade Astronauts a popular television show about hobbyist rocket makers, on a renowned US Science Channel. It was all set to go on air this month. Although the airing never happened, a social media video footage soon caught the attention of the masses, in this video, one can see the launch of the rocket followed by its failure and fall in an open desert. As soon as the rocket failed, a parachute was launched, but due to the imperfect timings, it can be seen being dragged along with the rocket.
The police department of San Bernardino County confirmed being called for a rocket launch at 14:00 hours and also added that sadly, the man who rode the trajectile died on the spot. Hughes’s PR team reported to the news channels that the pilot (Hughes) passed away during the failure of launch and no other injuries of any kind occurred to anybody around. And although the man did something crazy the Science Channel tweeted a heartfelt tribute in his name.
Michael 'Mad Mike' Hughes tragically passed away today during an attempt to launch his homemade rocket. Our thoughts & prayers go out to his family & friends during this difficult time. It was always his dream to do this launch & Science Channel was there to chronicle his journey pic.twitter.com/GxwjpVf2md
— Science Channel (@ScienceChannel) February 23, 2020
The tweet mentioned the incident of the afternoon followed by the news of the death of the pilot (Hughes). They further paid their condolences to the near and dear ones of Hughes and spoke about how the man was an adamant believer of the ‘Earth is flat’ theory. The rocket that turned out to be the reason for his death was built in his very own backyard garden as per the BBC News. Estimating to about 18000 US dollars, it ran out of steam due to a faulty nozzle and couldn’t go any further.
However, this was not the first time that Hughes grabbed these many eyeballs for a rocket failure, back in the year 2018 he blasted himself at an altitude of 570m when his then made space traveler crashed burning to the ground. Reports suggest that this time the speed of the rocket was about 350 miles per hour when he activated and launched his parachute. Besides his failures, he was also famous for holding the Guinness World Record for the longest limousine ramp jump (2002).
In his October 2018 interview Hughes said to the CBS News that he wants people to be critical thinkers and question the existing theories. He promoted the idea of questioning every little thing and while the man failed to save his life from the clutches of death, his idea of being a critical thinker sounds intriguing.
So let us just hope and pray that God gives his family the strength to fight this loss.