And if you look to your left
May 14, 2004 10:26 AM   Subscribe

The Great Wall of China can be seen from space after all.
posted by Mwongozi (11 comments total)
The issue wan't whether the Great Wall could be seen from space- it was whether the Great Wall was the only man-made object visible from space.
posted by dogwelder at 10:29 AM on May 14, 2004

No. Until recent advances in satellite photography, no man-made structures could be seen from space. Including the Great Wall. The idea that it could was a myth.
posted by jpoulos at 11:06 AM on May 14, 2004

I guess it depends on the quality of the optics being used.

posted by NewBornHippy at 11:07 AM on May 14, 2004

I thought the question was whether or not it could be seen with the naked eye.
posted by krunk at 12:13 PM on May 14, 2004

Forget that... what I want to know is where can _I_ get a .INT domain!
posted by silusGROK at 1:43 PM on May 14, 2004

I always thought that sections of the 48th parallel between Canada and the US were visible from space, as differing agricultural policies in each country led to different crops (of different colours) being planted on either side.
posted by carter at 2:18 PM on May 14, 2004

"What's Really Visible from Space" [] says that "... the pyramids ... are a little difficult to pick out with your eyes."

So, unless Ed Lu has a reason to lie about this, it looks like you can see man made objects from space.

Speaking of pyramids, isn't the Luxor (and the rest of the Vegas Strip) visible from space?
posted by sleslie at 3:34 PM on May 14, 2004

so can my backyard if the right satellite is looking.
posted by badstone at 5:17 PM on May 14, 2004

I can see space from my backyard with my naked eye if the conditions are right. Doesn't that count for anything?
posted by kozad at 6:07 PM on May 14, 2004

No, the question was that it could be seen with the naked eye from space. It can't.

skallas, the Cecil Adams page you link to says the opposite - that you can see many things from earth orbit. Presumably that would include the Great Wall. I expect you'd at least be able to see Manhattan.

Not from the moon, though.
posted by sfenders at 9:22 PM on May 14, 2004

I find it hilarious that even today, in this thread, people can't agree on what the myth was. The facts are pretty clear, though. Prior discussions in e.g. alt.folklore.urban have had similar problems nailing down the ground rules, often with people reasoning back from the facts to get a myth that fit them -- or didn't, as appropriate. Virtually everyone agrees with Astronaut Lu, in that structures such as the Great Wall are indeed visible as high up as the altitude of the International Space Station. From this you get the derivative myth that perhaps it was meant that the Great Wall was the only structure seen from that height, or the alternative interpretation that what was really meant was from the distance of the Moon. It's silly, though -- clearly nothing human-made would be visible from the Moon. The only interpretation is that the myth is wrong, and always has been, and there's no nailing down what precise misinformation was meant because there are so many possible variants of bad information. Clearly the version vectored by the authors of Trivial Pursuit has perhaps the widest currency and can be considered canonical, but it wasn't the first or only.

Forget that... what I want to know is where can _I_ get a .INT domain!

.int domain policies: Basically, you have to be an administrative body established by international treaty.
posted by dhartung at 10:53 PM on May 14, 2004

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