Flat Earther's Homemade Rocket Grounded Due To Bad Water Heater From Craigslist

"Mad" Mike Hughes — self-described on his Facebook page as "King of the Daredevils" — is a flat earth conspiracy theorist and amateur rocketeer who planned to launch a rocket over California's Mojave Desert on Monday and never got off the ground. He was thwarted by a faulty water heater that he bought off from Craigslist.

He had planned to launch his homemade, steam-powered rocket 5,000 feet into the air above the community of Amboy, California. The launch is postponed until Saturday.

Hughes, 63, previously launched in March 2018 to an altitude of 1,875 feet aboard his steam-powered rocket.

In media coverage of his 2018 launch, various publications stated that Hughes was launching to see Earth's curvature for himself (it is not visible at the altitude that Hughes hopes to reach this month). However, Hughes told Space.com that he was launching to this higher altitude because he is, simply, a daredevil.

Hughes' publicist Darren Shuster told Space.com on Monday that the faulty heater that Hughes bought for $325 off of Craigslist wasn't able to heat the water to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius), the temperature required to create the steam to propel the rocket. Hughes paid $50 for the nose cone of the rocket, which he plans to launch off the back of a semi-truck he was gifted.

Mojave Desert, California
The Kelso sand dunes are pictured in the Mojave Desert in California on February 27, 2019. (ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images)

The launch is sponsored by "hud" —a "commitment-free dating app." It will also be filmed as part of an upcoming Discovery Channel series featuring Hughes.

"I appreciate the support, love and excitement from everybody, and a delay will not stop my mission — the rocket is in place and needs a leak plugged up, so weekend is a go," Hughes told Space.com on Monday.

"I believe the Earth is flat," Hughes said. But "this flat Earth has nothing to do with the steam rocket launches," he added. "It never did. It never will. I'm a daredevil!"

Hughes gave another motivation for his latest launch attempt: President Donald Trump.

This "launch is about my personal desire to inspire my fellow Americans to help make this country great again," he said in a press statement ahead of the launch, adding that he hopes his achievement will garner an invitation to the White House for himself and his launch crew.

"Trump is the greatest president since there's been a president!" Hughes added in the same statement. "I intend to spread the word about MAGA with my homegrown, steam-powered, manned rocket. I am the homegrown Rocket Man."

While flat earth conspiracies are unequivocally false, the debunked theories have enjoyed a resurgence as of late. A YouGov poll from earlier this year indicated that a third of Americans aged 18 to 24 were unsure of the shape of our planet, despite scientific proofs.

Flat Earther's Homemade Rocket Grounded Due To Bad Water Heater From Craigslist | Culture