When Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy rocket earlier this week with a Tesla Roadster convertible onboard, it was one of the most talked about stories in the world of science. But for many of the world’s self-styled flat-earthers, SpaceX’s amazing feat might not have even happened and might have been nothing more than a “good car ad” or a fake publicity stunt.
In a report that centered on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch and how flat-earth adherents responded to the event, the Miami Herald explained the scientific beliefs of these individuals, which counter the “resounding evidence” presented over the years to prove our planet is round. As noted, many flat-earthers see Earth as a “large, stationary disk surrounded by an ice wall,” and cite observations, such as the inability to physically see evidence of Earth’s curvature and the lack of convexity in liquid water, to back up such beliefs.
Framing its story on Florida flat-earthers and their skepticism regarding SpaceX’s highly publicized rocket launch, the Miami Herald cited the experience of Uber driver Justin Harvey, who told the publication he was “ready to laugh” upon seeing what looked like the Falcon Heavy rocket in the sky, adding that space travel “is pretty much a hoax.” Talking about the Tesla Roadster that the rocket released into orbit, Harvey theorized that the car was merely a computer-generated representation of the actual vehicle, or was parked in a film studio.
Around the same time as the Miami Herald report, the Flat Earth Society took to social media to comment on SpaceX, Falcon Heavy, and the Tesla Roadster inside the rocket, referring to the stunt as a “good car ad,” and asking people to keep an open mind when it comes to online content, particularly that coming from SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk.
“What is surprising, however, is the new generation of people shouting ‘It’s true, I saw it on TV!’ Except this time, it’s the Internet,” the Flat Earth Society wrote in a Facebook post.
“We have already witnessed the shortfalls of this blind belief in online materials; just consider recent U.S. elections, the political Facebook campaigns in the U.K., or the many fake-news sites run from countries like Macedonia.”
As noted in a report from Vice, the wave of statements from flat-earthers regarding SpaceX was likely a response to the myriad instances where people “dunked on,” or gloated at those who believe our planet is flat, as the company live-streamed the Tesla Roadster’s exit from the second stage of the Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday. This live feed featured a mannequin called Starman (after the David Bowie song of the same name) behind the wheel of the Roadster, as the car edged farther away from Earth.
As of this writing, Elon Musk has yet to respond to the comments made by the Flat Earth Society and other similar groups. However, Tech Times recalled that Musk had once interacted with the organization in November, asking on Twitter why there is no “Flat Mars Society.” He would soon get a reply, with the Flat Earth Society explaining that Mars had already been “observed to be round.”