You’ve probably heard of future Darwin Award winner “Mad” Mike Hughes, a “self-taught rocket scientist” who planned to launch himself over a California city today in a homemade rocket to prove the Earth is flat, but he now says he’s run into a problem: the government blocked him from proceeding as planned.
Hughes, who also said he doesn’t “believe in science,” claims he was forced to postpone his experiment after the Bureau of Land Management said he couldn’t launch his scrap-metal rocket from public land in Amboy, California. He’s now planning to launch sometime next week from private land, according to the Washington Post.
This seems pretty normal. Government red tape is common, and I don’t see why some limo driver would be allowed to launch himself more than a mile in a 500 m.p.h. homemade rocket made in his garage — especially not from public property. But there may be more to this story, because the federal agency disputes his version of events.
“It’s still happening. We’re just moving it three miles down the road,” Hughes told The Washington Post on Friday. “This is what happens anytime you have to deal with any kind of government agency.”
Hughes claimed the Bureau of Land Management said he couldn’t launch his rocket as planned Saturday in Amboy. He claimed the federal agency had given him verbal permission more than a year ago, pending approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
A BLM spokeswoman said its local field office had no record of speaking with Hughes and that he had not applied for the necessary special recreation permit to hold an event on public land.
“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,” BLM spokeswoman Samantha Storms said.
So there’s a possibility that Hughes canceled his own launch, perhaps due to all the attention, and then blamed it on the government… but that’s just speculation for now.
Regardless of the reason, Hughes says he now won’t be able to launch his homemade rocket “until about Tuesday” because it takes three days to setup. He added that “it’s not easy because it’s not supposed to be easy.”
I don’t think it’s easy to launch yourself in an unproven rocket made of spare parts in a limo driver’s garage, but it’d be much easier for someone who understands the importance of the scientific method. Since Hughes doesn’t accept science, I can imagine that the launch — if it ever does happen — won’t go well.
Maybe the flight will prove to Hughes that he’s wrong about the Flat Earth theory, or maybe we’ll have the newest Darwin Awards winner. Either way, we will follow what happens and keep you updated.
(Image via Facebook)