I was so looking forward to blowing up a good factoid.
In a nutshell, a California man (of course) was going to prove the world is flat by rocketing around — er, over— the planet and photographing it. But first he has to do a few little test launches — you know. To make sure it can be done.
I’ve always chalked up these Flat Earth kind of folks with the chemtrail freaks, people who don’t believe the Holocaust occurred, or who watch Faux News and voted for the current pResident. So, a little research was in order.
According to the Flat Earth Society (FES), astronauts depict the Earth as round because “that’s the way they expect it to be.” Well, let me tell you how well that’s worked for me. Take my wallet, for example. I have always “expected it to be” round, but in reality, it is FLAT. Things don’t always live up to one’s expectations. This is why I have a flat wa— Oh. Wait. I digress.
“The simplest way to tell the Earth is flat is to rely on one’s own senses to discern the true nature of the world around us,” the FES website says. “The world looks flat, the bottoms of clouds are flat, the movement of the sun; these are all examples of your senses telling you we do not live on a spherical heliocentric world.”
The FES webpage further explains radial magnetism, the seasons and gravity, the latter that is related to v/c = tanh (at/c), in which one will find tanh (at/c) never exceeds or equals 1. If it did, the world would be round. I think.
To get to the other side of the Earth, we in the Northern Hemisphere fly up and over the North Pole (even pilots do this) because — and here’s the unanticipated kicker — according to the FES, “the edges of the (flat) Earth are surrounded on all sides by an ice wall that holds the oceans back.” Explorers have named this wall “Antarctica.”
“Beyond the ice wall is of great interest to the Flat Earth Society,” the website reads. “To our knowledge, no one has been very far past the ice wall and returned to tell of their journey. What we do know is that it encircles the earth and holds in our oceans and protects us from whatever lies beyond.”
Proving it is another matter. According to the FES, cameras are not good tools to prove the Earth is any shape. Too much lens distortion.
Planes, from which many people purport to see a curve in the Earth, are not “allowed” to fly higher than 36,000 feet, the FES says. Any curvature in the Earth can only be seen at 40,000 feet or higher, and since scientists “expect the Earth to be round,” the FAA has ruled aircraft can fly no higher than 36,000 feet, lest they lend themselves to proving … something.
Enter Mike Hughes, an FES member who intends to violate FES belief by launching himself 1,800 feet into the air and use a camera to disprove any ideas that the Earth is round.
He raised $310 on a Kickstarter campaign — only a few hundred thousand shy of his goal — so you know this is legit.
And you gotta admire his financial scrimping. Instead of buying Grade A Pittsburgh steel, he substituted aluminum pilfered from an abandoned motorhome.
I just couldn’t see this going well. The guy is a limo driver, not an engineer, a rocket scientist or even a physicist. But who’s to say? I’m not an engineer or a rocket scientist, either — although I took a physics class once.
This flight was to be done in preparation for a launch so far into space he can photograph the edge of the Earth and all its … disc-ness.
Mr. Hughes deserves a little credit. In 2014, he flew a quarter-mile over the desert in Arizona before pulling out several parachutes “of questionable quality on his fall to Earth,” the Associated Press reported. “He was in a walker for a couple weeks after that launch.”
But alas, Mr. Hughes didn’t get his 15 minutes of fame last weekend, either, and not just because the FAA found out he was going to invade U.S. airspace and the BLM learned he would launch and land from their land, likely become injured and sue the agency.
His rocket launcher? The one he built out of scrap metal?
It fell apart in his driveway during transport, proving yet another theory: Gravity sucks.