A California man’s stunt designed to prove the Earth is flat is the latest example of a conspiracy-fueled trend that’s been gaining traction in the United States, the Economist reported.
Flat-Earther “Mad” Mike Hughes hopes to launch himself 1,800 feet in the air in his homemade steam-powered rocket made of scrap metal; his latest launch date is Monday, the Associated Press reported.
Though the assertion flies in the face of photographs from space and centuries of scientific evidence, it has its skeptics adherents and the movement appears to be growing, the Economist noted.
Data from Google Trends shows that in the past two years, searches for “flat earth” have more than tripled. “If schools were better at teaching analytical thinking, that might reduce the appeal of conspiracy theories,” the Economist wrote.
In the meantime, ignoring the flat-Earthers appears to be the default position of NASA, at least.
After Bobby Ray Simmons Jr., a rapper also known as B.o.B, launched a crowd-funding campaign to send satellites into orbit to determine the Earth’s shape, a NASA spokeswoman told the Washington Post: “we don’t think there’s a debate to be had.”