Elon Musk launched his car, the Tesla Roadster, into space yesterday as part of the Falcon Heavy rocket launch.
Musk uploaded a video to Twitter showing the Roadster orbiting Earth within the Falcon Heavy rocket. The Verge reported that "The rocket's upper stage --- the top portion of the rocket that is carrying the car --- ignited two more times after separating from the Falcon Heavy's boosters. After the first burn, SpaceX put the upper stage in an experimental six-hour 'coast,' where the rocket didn't fire." In that time, the Roadster soared past the Earth and the video sparked some attention from online theorists and TV personalities.
Once footage of the launch happened, a debate split between those who believe the Earth is flat (flat-Earthers) and those who believe the Earth to be a sphere. Twitter users posted photos mocking those who believed the Earth is flat, while others mocked Tesla's exploration as being nothing more than CGI.
The flat Earth theory has made its rounds to celebrities as well. GQ reported that in [January 2016], Tila Tequila posted a series of tweets suggesting that buildings would be on a curve if the Earth was spherical and the horizon should offer a curvature if the Earth was a sphere. She also posted that no one has been able to successfully prove her theories wrong.
In January 2016, rapper B.o.B posted a photo of him in front of a horizon with the caption "The cities in the background are approx. 16miles apart... where is the curve ? please explain this"
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson commented on B.o.B's musings, only to be met with a diss track. Tyson then responded to this with a diss track of his own titled "Flat To Fact (feat. Neil deGrasse Tyson) (B.o.B Diss Response)."
As reported by Entertainment Weekly Tyson then appeared on The Nightly Show where he stated, "But this whole thing is just a symptom of a larger problem: There's a growing anti-intellectual strain in this country, and it may be the beginning of the end of our informed democracy," Tyson said. "Of course, in a free society, you can and should think whatever you want. If you want to think the world is flat, go right ahead. But if you think the world is flat, and you have influence over others --- as would successful rappers or even presidential candidates --- then being wrong becomes being harmful to the health, the wealth and the security of our citizenry. Discovery and exploration got us out of the caves, and each generation benefits from what previous generations have learned. Isaac Newton, my man, said, 'If I have seen farther than others, it's by standing on the shoulders of giants.' So that's right B.o.B., when you stand on the shoulders of those who came before, you might just see far enough to realize the Earth isn't f--ing flat."
Musk's footage has already earned over 10 million views in addition to hundreds of thousands of retweets and likes.
Regardless of where you stand, the footage sparked quite the debate between thousands of people in the short span of 21 hours.
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