1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

Is the Great Wall of China Visible From Space

By

3 of 4

Not Visible From the Moon But Pyramids Can Be Seen From Space
Pyramids at Giza, Egypt

Pyramids at Giza, Egypt

NASA
The theory that the wall could be seen from the Moon dates back to at least 1938. According to About.com's Guide to Geography, Matt Rosenberg, "The myth of being able to see the Great Wall from space originated in Richard Halliburton's 1938 (long before humans saw the earth from space) book Second Book of Marvels said that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made object visible from the moon." (See "The Great Wall of China.")

It was repeated and grew until astronauts landed on the lunar surface. Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope columnist says, "Nobody knows exactly where the story got started, although some think it was speculation by some bigshot during an after-dinner speech in the early days of the space program."

"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 vegetation," said Alan Bean, Apollo 12 astronaut. "No man-made object is visible at this scale."

While not visible from the Moon, Ancient pyramids at Giza, Egypt are clearly visible in this photo from the Station.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.