The Great Wall of China is often said to be the only man-made object visible from space. It makes sense that people would have said this, even centuries before we ever went into space. Though much of it is in ruins today, the Great Wall wall is said to be over 13,000 miles long. But astronauts have said again and again that they have great difficulty actually finding it.
Chinese astronaut, Yang Liwei, said he couldn’t see it.
Chinese-American astronaut Leroy Chiao took a photograph from the International Space Station that shows the wall, but he used a camera with a special lens. He said he wasn’t even sure he saw it himself when he took the photo!
If you are starting to wonder if Chinese astronauts get asked this a lot, it seems that they do!
An even older theory was that you could see the Great Wall from the moon! One of the first times we know someone wrote that is in a letter from an Englishman in 1754. 1754 is over 200 years before we ever went to the moon! This claim became popular and is still believed by some, even though it is completely untrue. Astronaut Alan Bean visited the Moon and said, “The only thing you can see from the Moon is a beautiful sphere, mostly white, some blue and patches of yellow, and every once in a while some green . . . “
You can see a lot of other man made structures from space, particularly lights from cities at night.
The Great Wall of China is only 24 ft tall, or even less in spots where it is in ruins, and the color of its bricks is like the earth around it. It is a very impressive structure to see on Earth, but it makes sense it could be hard to spot from space!