It appears we will need to wait a while longer to find out whether more than two millennia of thinkers and explorers — from Aristotle and Ferdinand Magellan, to Neil deGrasse Tyson and John Glenn — have been wrong about the shape of the Earth.
“Mad” Mike Hughes, limousine driver and self-proclaimed flat-Earther, announced that he had to delay his plan to launch himself 1,800 feet high in a rocket of his own making. The launch, which he has billed as a crucial first step toward ultimately photographing our disc-world from space, had been scheduled for Saturday — before the Bureau of Land Management got wind of the plan and barred him from using public land in Amboy, Calif.
Also, the rocket launcher he had built out of a used motor home “broke down in the driveway” on Wednesday, according to Hughes. He said in a YouTube announcementthat they’d eventually gotten the launcher fixed — but the small matter of federal permission proved a more serious stumbling block (for now).
Hughes asserted that the BLM last year had tacitly left the matter of permissions to the Federal Aviation Administration, and “of course, they can’t honestly approve it,” he added. The FAA “just said, ‘Well, we know that you’re going to do it there.’ ”
It turns out the BLM wasn’t satisfied with that explanation — particularly after The Associated Press first reported on the launch for a national audience.
“Someone from our local office reached out to him after seeing some of these news articles [about the launch], because that was news to them,” a spokeswoman for the agency told The Washington Post, adding that Hughes had not applied to the local BLM field office for the necessary permit.
“So, it turned out to be not a good thing,” Hughes said.
Still, Hughes has not relented in his quest to launch himself roughly 500 mph on a mile-long flight across the sky above the Mojave Desert. He said he has found private property near his original launch site, where he anticipates finally taking off as early as this coming week.