Earth is round. This is not a highly disputed fact, unless you're a member of the 16th-century Roman Inquisition or the rapper B.o.B. And yet, thanks to an immeasurably flawed conspiracy theory, a small but dedicated group of people is still convinced that Earth is flat. One of these so-called Flat Earthers is a guy named "Mad" Mike Hughes, and Hughes—a 61-year-old limo driver—has spent the past few years building a homemade, steam-powered rocket in his garage to prove he's right.
This Saturday, Hughes will climb aboard and launch himself and the rocket up into the air, hoping to move one step closer to demonstrating, once and for all, that the world as we know it is actually a flat disk with a giant wall of ice around it, the Associated Press reports.
"I don’t believe in science," Hughes told the AP. "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."
Hughes will launch his rocket—which cost him about $20,000 to build and is sponsored by the group Research Flat Earth—Saturday afternoon over Amboy, a ghost town in California. He expects to hit speeds of up to 500 MPH.
"If you’re not scared to death, you’re an idiot," Hughes said. "It’s scary as hell, but none of us are getting out of this world alive. I like to do extraordinary things that no one else can do, and no one in the history of mankind has designed, built, and launched himself in his own rocket."
Hughes already took to the skies back in 2014, when he launched himself 1,374 feet into the air in an earlier rocket. He survived, but reportedly needed three days to recover from the effects of the G-forces.
Saturday's launch will be available to watch live on "Internet PPV," according to Hughes's personal website. If he pulls off the mission, Hughes told the AP, he plans to start work on a rocket that will take him even higher, hoping to eventually make it to space and see the big, flat Necco wafer that is our planet with his own eyes.
"Nothing is out of reach," Hughes said. "Anything can be done. You just have to put enough money, time, and thought into it."