Flat-earth man launches rocket, lands with a thud

Who could possibly have guessed that Mike Hughes’ attempt to prove the earth is flat by launching himself in a steam-powered rocket would end this way?

“I’m tired of people saying I chickened out and didn’t build a rocket,” he said. I’m tired of that stuff. I manned up and did it.”

And proved what?

“This thing wants to kill you 10 different ways,” said Hughes, who had an altimeter in his cockpit to measure his altitude. “This thing will kill you in a heartbeat.”

We already knew that, of course, but what about that flat earth thing?

That’s going to have to wait. He has plans for a balloon to take him 68 miles up to have a better look at things.

But first he wants to run for governor.

  • BJ

    Ha, ha, ha

  • KariBemidji
  • Veronica

    Oh. So this whole thing is because he feels like his male identity depended on it. Why am I not surprised?

    • Mike

      The phrase “man up” is itself an excellent example of toxic masculinity. If the goal is to fight that phenomenon, we should all swear off use of the term.

      • Al

        If this is the definition of “man up” to some folks, I’m good with Darwinism on that one.

        • jon

          Masculinity so toxic that you’ll be leaving via an ambulance. (or a hearse).

      • Veronica

        What? That’s the definition of toxic masculinity? Oh my goodness—thank you for explaining it! Otherwise I’d never have known!

      • Rob

        I am totally ready to man up and swear off use of the term “man up.”

  • wjc


    Meep! Meep! (It did say “ACME” on the side of the rocket, right?)

  • Gary F

    Run for governor of California! ? He’d be a perfect replacement for Edmund Jerry Brown!

    • Rob

      I’m thinking he’d be a good replacement for Scott Walker

      • Jim in RF

        Once having a job other than the government would be a fresh approach.

  • Ben Chorn

    He made it less than 2,000 feet… airplanes fly way above that altitude, and even a hot air balloon would have had better success.

    • Indeed. Mad Mike could even have ascended a tall TV tower and made his observation from a higher altitude.

      • jon

        several mountains in california exceed 14,000 feet… so like 7-8 times higher than he got…

        I commend his build… though steam is not an effective propellant for an actual orbital class rocket, and let’s face it, anything shy of an orbit and not seeing the underside of the planet isn’t going to convince him the earth is round.

  • Jeff

    Quoting from the WP comments section (origination disputed):

    If the Earth were flat, cats would have already pushed everything over the edge.

  • Jim in RF

    I’ll give him credit for trying. I’ve got sort of a soft spot for guys like him and Lawn Chair Larry. A dream of mine is building a trebuchet out in back that would be big enough to launch a Vega or Pinto into the ravine.

    • X.A. Smith
      • Jim in RF

        Yep. We used to have a boat-burning party every fall where we’d light up an old wooden speedboat or cruiser. One year we used a length of cannon fuse (you can still buy it online) to set it off, another year we used a burning arrow (didn’t work). Community is what you make of it.

        • Rob

          Would be glad to be a member of any community with an explosives-centric orientation

  • Kevin

    Rockets that can get a person 1800 feet off the ground, and the science and technology behind them, have existed for at most a few decades. The science that proves that the Earth is round has been around for thousands of years. How do you get to the point where you can understand and believe in the first (enough to actually build one and trust it), but not the second?

  • MrE85

    Governor of California? Set your sights higher, man! American needs you. We probably deserve you.

  • RBHolb

    Do the papers want to know whose shirts he wears?

  • Rob

    I’m still trying to ascertain whether this guy’s head is round