California has a reputation for attracting some very interesting characters. This year there’s been another one on the loose, making a name for himself, out on the Mojave Desert. He built a steam-powered rocket and shot himself up into the sky, about 1800 feet, hitting 350 miles an hour and falling back to earth, all to somehow prove that the earth is flat.
“Mad” Mike Hughes is a 61-year old limo driver, amateur rocket scientist, and claims to be a devout flat earther. A few years ago he decided to create a go-fund-me page to build a rocket, but it went nowhere. He raises about $300 which didn’t begin to cover the costs. He funded what he could on his limo driver wages, then one day had a revelation and decided the earth was flat, Not only was it flat, he could prove it if he could fly his rocket and look around. He went on an internet radio show dedicated to flat earthers and professed he was a recent convert to the flat earth ideology. He explained his project to the host and its 300 or so listeners, who were impressed that he’d actually ridden in a rocket. He said he was the real thing, unlike those fake paid actors hired by NASA.
Mad Mike must quite a talker, because the show host and his listeners decided to back the his project, and the limo-driving rocket man got an infusion of cash. A flat-Earth Society GoFundMe drive raised nearly $8,000 for Hughes. It goes to show that PT Barnum was right, and there’s still one born every minute.
Mad Mike built his rocket and launched it last week, flying over the town of Amboy. It had to be quite a sight, a bright red home-built rocket launching into the sky with Mad Mike riding along. It went up almost 2000 feet then came back down, straight down, and fortunately for Mad Mike his parachutes deployed and brought him back to earth at a fairly reasonable speed. He was bounced around pretty bad and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, but he survived the landing, with some minor injuries.
He didn’t get to see much during his flight. He didn’t even get as high as some of the desert mountains around Amboy. I think a short ride in a Jeep would have told him more, but of course, he wasn’t there to learn, it was just a show.