Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Pam Burke 

View from the North 40: Here's to the self-made rocket man


November 24, 2017

While basking in the afterglow of too much Thanksgiving, rushing into pre-Christmas sale-ing and joining in the holiday season openers, we should all take a moment to send good thoughts to Mike Hughes, a 61-year-old southern California limo driver and nascent astronaut whose maiden voyage toward outer space is planned for this weekend.

Hughes has spent about $20,000 building a rocket — and launch pad made from a mobile home — to take him into space, and this weekend’s piloted test launch will take him one step closer to this goal, The Associated Press reported Nov. 20.

Hughes plans to take off Saturday between 2 and 3 p.m. and travel for about a mile at a speed of around 500 miles per hour, soaring through the sky above the Mojave Desert near Amboy, California, the ghost town on Route 66 that inspired the setting for the animated movie “Cars.”

Though Saturday’s launch won’t take Hughes out of Earth’s troposphere, the part of Earth’s atmosphere in which we live and breathe, it is one step closer to space than his first piloted rocket trip. Hughes shot himself into a quarter-mile flight over Winkelman, Arizona, in 2014, landing with a bit of a crash when his parachute deployed, but got too torn up to slow the rocket’s speed. The g-forces and subsequent hard stop landed Hughes, who calls himself Mad Mike Hughes, in a walker for two weeks.

There’s a Youtube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3feaiPcv6yE and in slow motion at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fp2q_dKuc-c.

One of the most astonishing parts about this whole project is that Hughes said he doesn’t believe in science.

“I know about aerodynamics and fluid dynamics and how things move through the air, about the certain size of rocket nozzles, and thrust. But that’s not science, that’s just a formula. There’s no difference between science and science fiction,” he told the AP.

A translation of that quote into popular parlance would be that Hughes thinks science is fake news.

Which might explain why his rocket is fueled by steam — technology made popular during the Industrial Revolution some 200 years ago, plus change.

If you think that’s about the craziest thing you will hear today, you should prepare to be amazed.

Hughes said he’s doing this to prove that the Earth is flat.

I know. Amazing, right?

Originally, Hughes only wanted to get into space.

He makes just $15 per hour, plus tips, as a limo driver, so he created a kickstarter account to raise $150,000, the Washington Post said. Not too long after the kickstarter account topped out at $310 in donations, Hughes called in to a flat-Earth Webcast, the Post said, and won the listeners over. The program set up a GoFundMe account that netted Hughes $8,000.

Now he wants to go into space and prove Earth is flat.

The show’s host said that astronauts thus far have been actors performing in front of a CGI globe.

“John Glenn and Neil Armstrong are Freemasons. Once you understand that, you understand the roots of the deception,” Hughes said in agreement.

“We were kind of looking for new sponsors for this. And I’m a believer in the flat Earth,” Hughes said to sweet-talk the flat-Earthers, adding, “I researched it for several months.”

Now, if that makes Hughes’ belief in Earth being flat seem like a PR spin to get money out of people and less than sincere in his motivation, I would remind you that plenty of politicians have made darn good careers out of ardently supporting what donors are paying them to believe. So don’t judge.

Through support from Research Flat Earth, flat-Earthers are hoping their trusted space envoy Hughes one day will be able to reach the outer atmosphere, or atmoflat as the case may be, to provide photographic evidence and “prove once and for all this Earth is flat,” Hughes said.

Hughes told the AP he’ll be making adjustments on the rocket right up till go-time.

So to Mad Mike Hughes I say, good luck with that and god speed, rocket man.

And to everyone living anywhere near the flightpath I say, good luck with that and consider the safety merits of being out of town Saturday.


It’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the sudden stop at the end, at http://www.facebook.com/ViewfromtheNorth40.com.


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