Flat Earthers plan a cruise but their voyage depends on a round planet

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Flat Earthers plan a cruise but their voyage depends on a round planet

Image: Laurent Gillieron/EPA/Shutterstock

Someone is going to tell them, right?

Flat Earthers from around the globe disc are planning an all-out cruise for the 2020 Flat Earther International Conference. Promised to be the “biggest, boldest, best adventure yet,” the cruise will bring like-minded people together who all believe the planet is a disc protected by an ice wall barrier. There’s only one tiny hole in this plan — the cruise ship relies on navigational equipment based on a spherical Earth. 

“Nautical charts are designed with that in mind: that the Earth is round,” former cruise ship captain Henk Keijer told The Guardian. Keijer captained cruise ships for 23 years and is now a forensic marine expert. 

Someone's going to tell them right?

Image: Flat earth international conference

Ships and other vessels use the same global positioning system that you use to dodge traffic on your morning commute — there are 24 satellites that orbit the planet, providing information at all times. 

As Keijer explains, there are 24 because of “the curvature of the Earth.” You’d need at least three satellites to pinpoint a location on a flat surface, through a process called triangulation.  

Modern boats use navigational systems called Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS), which uses GPS to automatically determine the ship’s location and that of other sea-faring vessels within a certain radius.  

The system, which again, relies on satellites orbiting a round planet, “really gives great improvement in navigational safety” according to University of Southern Mississippi hydrographer Max van Norden. In a 2012 interview with NPR, he said ECDIS is a necessity in preventing collisions because it improves “situational awareness.” 

But the Flat Earth International Conference dismisses evidence of satellites because they “believe government space agencies are taking creative liberties with your tax dollars and producing misleading materials.” The website claims images and photographs can be debunked because they’re artist renderings or “captured via fisheye lens” which produces a “curved appearance.” 

The Flat Earth International Conference hasn’t responded to requests for comment. But like Keijer says in The Guardian, the organization would be hard-pressed to find a cruise ship staff that shares their provably incorrect ideology. 

“I have sailed 2 million miles, give or take,” Keijer said. “I have not encountered one sea captain who believes the Earth is flat.”

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