A man on a mission to prove the world is flat almost faced a near-fatal catastrophe as he propelled himself into the atmosphere in a homemade steam-powered rocket.
The self-taught engineer known as “Mad” Mike Hughes launched himself 1,875 feet into the sky Sunday, but his descent nearly turned disastrous as the ship came zooming back down to earth at a speed of 350 mph.
The 61-year-old deployed parachutes to slow down but crash landed in the Mojave Desert, just east of Los Angeles.
In video of the descent, response teams in the desert are seen rushing over to help as bystanders cheer him on, but the rocket man fears he has broken his back.
Photos show Hughes building his rocket over the past 10 years, all to prove that the Earth is flat — a notion he wholeheartedly believes.
On Monday, a day after the crash, he spoke to Inside Edition outside the court where he was fighting a ticket he got for speeding in his car.
“I did take a pretty hard hit and I am feeling it right now. I believe I have a compressed fracture in one of my lower vertebrae,” he said.
He says the rocket ride was frightening.
“It’s scary because once you pull the lever and you release the plunger, there is no way to stop it,” he said.
He wants to raise $2 million to launch a rocket into space to prove his theory that the Earth is flat.