Science

Killed By Unicorn

Mad Mike preparing for a rocket launch on 12/1/17.

I report with sadness, the death of a man by unicorn. “Mad Mike” Hughes chased a very unique unicorn, but was impaled yesterday by its sharp, pointy horn.

Mad Mike was a science denier. There’s nothing unique about that, as many misguided folks have a low regard for science. What made him different from most science deniers is that he put his life on the line for his cause, and chased a unicorn straight into the troposphere.

Mad Mike Hughes built a steam-powered rocketship, and launched himself into the troposphere several times, in order to prove something about the world being flat, or some other strange, vague thing he mumbled. Or maybe he was just trying to prove that he could do it.

He broke his ankles and injured his back during these launches, but never gave up.

I posted about him several times, on December 1st, 2017, and on March 26th, 2018.

On Saturday, 2/22/20, this crazy astronaut was at it again, near Barstow, California. He had a new steam-powered rocketship that he hoped would launch him 5,000 feet straight up. He launched successfully, but during blastoff the rocket’s parachute got caught on something and ripped. Mad Mike went straight up, and then, with no parachute, went straight down.

He did not survive. Mad Mike is dead.

And the world is not flat. But Mad Mike is.

I encourage unicorn chasing, but I include a warning. Watch out for the pointy horn. Unique experiences can be heady, thrilling, and fun as hell. But they can also be very dangerous. Proceed with caution when chasing these beasts. Do your research, and respect good advice, knowledge, and science.

Just the same, we’ll miss you, Mad Mike.

Here are some links to several news stories about Mad Mike’s demise:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/22/us/science-channel-mike-hughes-dead/index.html

https://abc7.com/daredevil-mad-mike-hughes-dies-in-rocket-launch-crash-near-barstow/5960342/

Categories: Science

38 replies »

  1. From 5000 feet you are basically just off the ground and cannot see the curvature of the Earth. You could book a ticket with a window seat on a commercial flight and easily get to 35000 feet, but this is still not high enough. It’s like looking at your globe from a millimeter away, you can’t see much. I guess he could really have saved up and bought a ticket with Blue Origin that has a capsule that will take you to 100 km (330,00 feet). This might be sufficient to satisfy your stubbornness and probably be cheaper and safer than the homemade steam rocket. Or wait a couple of years and book a flight on a SpaceX dragon capsule that will go higher than the space station (1,267,200 feet). If that didn’t convince you, nothing would.

    Or he could have performed some basic experiments on earth, like Archimedes did more than 2000 years ago and demonstrated that the Earth was indeed approximately spherical.

    But none of this would have been as theatrical as killing yourself in an incredibly stupid way. Rocket people call this “lithobraking”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your analysis illustrates the wisdom of doing research.

      I think I might like that Blue Origin ride. But I’ll bet it’s expensive. Probably much cheaper than building a steam-powered rocketship, though.

      His eventual goal was to reach somewhere around 64,000 feet. Still probably not high enough to prove or disprove anything.

      The stupidity of some people is hard to fathom. But maybe that’s why they called him “Mad Mike”.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read about this guy. Classic science denier doing it for attention. Yes, the Earth is not flat, but as you say, Mike now is. The irony is rather amazing. In some ways, he’s contributed to science after all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just as you’ve warned about the pointy end of unicorns, I’ve warned that playing close to “the edge” carries the risk of falling off.
    I think the official term is ‘death by misadventure’ … ‘misadventure’ of course being the code word for stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

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