It takes all sorts to make the world go round, even Flat Earthers. However, as millions watched SpaceX launch NASA astronauts into space, they became the subject of mockery online.
Last night, May 30, history was made as astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken reached for the skies in a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon crew capsule, heading straight for the International Space Station (ISS).
Not only is it the first time since 2011 that humans have blasted into orbit from US soil, but never has NASA sent a crew into space using a commercial spacecraft owned by a private company.
And, the footage from the launch is (further) proof (not that it’s required) that the Earth is spherical not flat.
Funnily enough, the Flat Earth community has remained pretty quiet in the wake of yesterday’s launch. One user wrote: ‘Hey #FlatEarth, we just launched two Americans into space completely live, with tons of live footage. Absolutely no way it could have been fake. Suck it, flerfs.’
However, some theories have already started circulating in the movement’s smaller circles. One account, The Flat Earther, wrote: ‘Why do you think earth is a globe? Because you see Photoshop images of it. Have you ever tried to prove the globe independently? If not, then you have no evidence of a globe.’
The well-known Flat Earth conspiracy theorist Michael ‘Mad Mike’ Hughes died in February when his homemade rocket crash landed in the California desert.
As the SpaceX vessel entered orbit, live footage was streamed to the world below of the planet in all its round glory. One user wrote: ‘One thing I can certainly clear up after watching that amazing event… the Earth is definitely not flat. Sorry Flat Earthers you’ve been debunked.’
Unbelievably though, despite the conclusive images available, they refuse to believe. In a screenshot from a Flat Earthers’ Facebook group, one wrote: ‘Oh they’re in space now but they’re surrounded by a bright white set, and that layering animation on the right is so awfully done it’s like a 1999 computer game.’
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 31, 2020
Hurley and Behnken are set to dock at the ISS later today at around 15:30 BST. As it’ll be a fully automated procedure, they shouldn’t need to intervene unless there’s any issues aboard the capsule.
As Dragon reached orbit, Hurley radioed to Earth: ‘Thank you for the first human ride for Falcon 9. It was incredible… appreciate all the hard work and thanks for the great ride to space.’
Commenting on the launch, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said: ‘It was just an amazing day. I’m breathing a sigh of relief but I won’t be celebrating until Bob and Doug are home safely.’