It’s a March afternoon in California’s Mojave Desert, and “Mad” Mike Hughes is preparing his homemade rocket for launch. Suddenly, the contraption kicks into gear, and Hughes is sent hurtling thousands of feet into the air. Before his unlikely adventure, this eccentric inventor believed that the world was flat – but will his flight above the Earth have changed his mind?
Contrary to popular belief, most people did not believe that the Earth was flat before Christopher Columbus proved them wrong. In fact, scholars have theorized that we inhabit a spherical planet since at least the time of the ancient Greeks. And by the time that Columbus set sail around the world, only the least educated of society would have entertained the idea that he might fall off the edge.
However, that hasn’t stopped a growing number of modern enthusiasts becoming obsessed with the idea of a flat Earth. Beginning somewhere around the mid-20th century, a movement of people began rejecting the notion of a spherical world. Instead, they chose to believe that our planet is shaped like a disc.