Great Wall of China from Space

Can you see the Great Wall of China from the SpaceThe answer to this famous space based question is No. Great Wall of China, which is often claimed to be the only man-made object seen from space is certainly not visible from space. Scientists explain that it is merely impossible for an unaided human eye to capture the picture of Great Wall even within the low Earth orbit limit.

The visibility of wall was debunked multiple times, but the myth pops up again and again with new evidences. Chinese own astronaut Yang Lewei confirmed that he could not see any historic structures from space.

The myth burst out again when Leroy Chiao posted the photograph taken from the International Space Station, showing few sections of Great Wall Of China about 200 miles north of Beijing, in the inner Mongolia region. This picture taken with a digital camera of 180mm lens was the first dominant photo of wall captured from space. Subsequently another picture of Great Wall of China was captured using 400mm lens after few months. This rejoiced the Chinese. But later Leroy Chiao stated that he did not see the wall, and was not sure whether the picture captured showed the Great Wall. In 2001, Niel Armstrong also confirmed that he did not see any man-made objects on earth from space.

The Great Wall of China is about 30 feet wide and has the same color and texture as that of the soil around as it was built with the materials available nearby during its construction. Human’s optical resolving power can identify an object only if it has a reasonable contrast compared to the surrounding object. Scientists also claim that the width of the Great wall of China from moon would be same as the width of the human hair captured away from 3.2 km. A normal human would require a spatial resolution of 17000 times than a normal vision to see the Great Wall of China from Space. This makes it very clear that Great wall of China cannot be seen with naked human eye from space. However, the Great Wall of China is visible from low orbit under certain favorable lighting and weather conditions.

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