Would you take a ride on a nuclear-powered, 5,000-passenger, sky cruise? Well you can’t for one simple reason — it’s fake as hell. If you thought there was a shred of authenticity to this airborne boat, don’t worry because a bunch of news outlets did too. This is how one Reddit user accidentally fooled the world’s media.

In late June, the following video popped up on the subreddit r/worldbuilding.

Nuclear-Powered Sky Hotel from worldbuilding

In its own words, this particular subreddit was built for “sharing your worlds, discovering the creations of others, and discussing the many aspects of creating new universes.” It mentioned writers J. R. R. Tolkien and Ursula K. Le Guin as its main influences.

The “Nuclear-Powered Sky Hotel” was designed by the user Sourcecode12. It featured a bunch of computer-generated visuals of a massive plane flying through the sky with passengers enjoying the high velocity lifestyle.

Upon being posted, the video received a bunch of positive feedback from other Reddit users praising its creativity. One even wrote that they could believe it was “a real ad”.

Flash forward a few days from when the design was posted and it turns out people DID believe this was a real ad.

Publications across the globe ran the story as though it were a real projector with a real-world design team.

The New York Post ran the story with the headline “Inside giant flying luxury hotel that can stay in the air for years”. Fox also published it with the header “Designers working on ‘Sky Cruise’ nuclear-powered aircraft.”

In addition to the written publicity it was getting, the designs also made their way to TV news which eventually prompted Redditor Sourcecode12 to post a compilation.

The Sky Cruise video I posted here last week went global! from worldbuilding

Other Reddit users in the r/worldbuilding subreddit expressed their amazement that so many legit news stations hadn’t been more sceptical and googled if it was fake.

Eventually the designer had to make a follow-up post on Reddit clarifying the fake sky cruise design.

“It was covered by big outlets, The New York Post, The Sun, The Mirror, The Daily Mail, IGN, Interesting Engineering, Yahoo News, Fox Business, etc.” The Redditor wrote.

“While I loved all the attention it received, I think some news outlets took it out of context, promoting it as if it’s something that already exists. I wish it existed!”

“What did I learn from this experience? If you’re going to use realistic animation for a design concept, make sure to put a disclaimer that it’s just a concept/CGI.”

“In the future, I’ll be publishing a press release for every design, which will include footage, still images, B-roll, and extensive description along with a disclaimer.”

Oh well — we can dream about a legit sky cruise can’t we?

I guess we’re stuck with Jetstar for the moment…

Image: Fox Business