A popular myth exists about space exploration that states the Great Wall of China is the only human-built structure that can be seen from space.
This myth is based – somehow – on the book written by Richard Halliburton named Second Book of Marvels: The Origin (1938) as it was the first reference on the subject.
Arthur Waldron – author of the most reliable history of the Great Wall – said that the belief is based on the interest in the “channels” that were believed to exist on Mars.
Here’s the thing: if humans could see the canals of Mars, then the aliens could see the Great Wall. What do you think of this logic? For some, this belief has persisted until now. But, in reality, The Great Wall is only 23 feet high and 16 feet wide.
In terms of length, it’s estimated that it is about 13.17307 miles long, from the Korean border (at the edge of the Yalu River) to the Gobi Desert. I mean, it’s about the size of the runways of the roads and airports. It’s almost the same color as the surrounding soil. Therefore, it’s not possible to see it from the Moon, let alone from Mars.
Astronauts Share Their Experience
To dissipate or confirm this myth, it is necessary to call on the experts. In this case, the lucky astronauts who have been able to make the journey into space.
Neil Armstrong – the first human being to set foot on the moon (1969) – said there wasn’t (at least with his eyes) any human construction visible. He added that other colleagues who have orbited China during the day haven’t seen it either.
Additionally, when Yang Liwei (China’s first astronaut) went into space in 2003, he said that he couldn’t see the structures of The Great Wall from his capsule.
Also, Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield – who spent five months aboard the International Space Station in 2012-2013 – reiterated that ”The Great Wall of China is not visible from orbit with the naked eye”.
To conclude with the evidence, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) declared in 2004 that the photograph taken of the Great Wall of China from space from US astronaut Leroy Chiao was not truly a structure, but a section of river between the mountains, and publicly recognized that the Great Wall is not visible from space without help.
ith all of human creation, many buildings – and other structures like it – can be seen from space. But definitely, you won’t be able to see the Great Wall of China from space.