Can the Great Wall Be Seen from the Space?

Jinshanling Great Wall, Beijing
Jinshanling, Beijing

Measuring about 21,196 kilometers (13,170 miles) long, the Great Wall of China is no doubt the longest manmade project on the earth. It was once widely believed that it can be seen from the space. Many astronauts have verified this saying and taken photos as evidence. Some medium even reported with affected seriousness, "The biggest building the astronauts could see from the space is the wall, which looks very much like a black worm." Consequently, this statement has gone deep into people's minds and become an honor that Chinese people enjoyed for years.

Is the Great Wall truly visible from the moon? Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut who was lifted into the outer space by the spacecraft Shenzhou V on Oct.15, 2003, gave a definite answer "No" to a reporter after he reached the ground. Yang's negative response in a practical way may probably put out a fair number of people's passion. But it powerfully corrected the misconception. The wall is indeed majestic, but you won't see it from the space!

In fact, besides Yang Liwei, there are a lot of astronauts said the Wall could not be seen from the space. Neil Alden Armstrong, the American aviator who first set foot on the moon in 1969, was asked a thousand times whether or not he had seen the Great Wall from the moon. Recently from a sound recording that announced by NASA Johnson Space Center, Armstrong said that he had seen the continent, lakes and blue spots touched with red. But he could not make out any manmade object on the earth from the moon.

Simatai Great Wall, Beijing
Simatai, Beijing

What's more, Buzz Aldrin, one of the two American astronauts besides Neil Alden Armstrong that first landed on the moon, insisted that the wrong statement was from people's misunderstanding. Jeffrey Alan Hoffman, the former American astronaut claimed that he had not seen the Wall though much time was spent to overlook the earth including many moments skimming over China's airspace. Dennis Anthony Tito, the first space tourist from America who spent the space vacation in 2001, also said the Wall is invisible from the space.

Theoretically speaking, the Great Wall is absolutely invisible from the space. It is narrow and irregular. In space, something irregular is hard to be observed. Measuring about 10 meters (11 yards) wide on average, it is easily to be immerged from the surrounding environment. Depended solely on the unaided eyes, it is hardly distinguished at an altitude of 65,617 feet. It is totally invisible at a height of 196,850 feet. To watch the wall on the moon is equivalent to seeking for a single hair from 2,688 meters (2,940 yards) away. To say an astronaut can see the  it from space is obviously not true.

To add, some people introduced an idea to make the Great Wall visible from the space. If we install bright spotlights on the wall, no matter they are big or small, astronauts can see the lights at night. Therefore, some believe that the wall can be showed up from the surrounding environment as long as the angle of the sunlight is appropriate. But this suggestion has not been carried out by scientific experiment. In conclusion, it is generally accepted that the wall cannot be seen from the space.

- Last updated on Jun. 09, 2023 by Catherine He -
Questions & Answers on Can the Great Wall Be Seen from the Space?
Asked by Debbie Cato from USA | Jan. 22, 2023 07:15Reply
More wall
Any plans to add on to the wall
Answers (1)
Answered by Dave | Jan. 27, 2023 19:24

No, it has lost its function as a military defense system after entering the era of hot weapons. If yes, it is only to restore the broken sections.
Asked by kyla from LEBANON | Feb. 28, 2015 23:38Reply
Can see the great wall of china from space?
because books internet.
Answers (6)
Answered by Nina | Mar. 01, 2015 02:51

It has been proved that it cannot be seen from the space by a Chinese astronaut who has went up to space.
Answered by Sirius from CANADA | Jan. 24, 2016 00:15

I have no idea as some people say yes while some say no.
Answered by Grace from USA | May. 19, 2016 16:35

No if you are only looking with your eyes but yes if you have some kind of aid like a telescope.

Hope this helps!
Answered by Ross M from CANADA | Jul. 06, 2016 22:25

Yes it can be seen from space and it looks like a long black worm. Astronauts have confirmed that and even taken some low quality pictures.
Answered by Kirstyn from USA | Jun. 17, 2020 18:17

According to astronaut Jerry Carr, you cannot see the Wall itself from space, but from a certain distance above the earth, at the right time of day, you can see the shadow of the Great Wall.
Answered by Aurora Sneed | Dec. 08, 2021 02:34

Asked by diwakar from INDIA | Jan. 02, 2015 03:50Reply
can great wall of china be visible from golconda fort in hyderabad
Answers (1)
Answered by Danny from IRAN | Jan. 04, 2015 19:30

I don't think so. It's a long distance between these two locations.
Asked by Remegio C.Pingkian from PHILIPPINES | Dec. 31, 2014 21:37Reply
During the time of the great philosopher Confucius does the great wall exists,showed his wisdom?
Answers (2)
Answered by Charles from HUNGARY | Jan. 04, 2015 19:33

Remegio, Confucius was born in 551 BC and passed away in 479 BC. The earliest wall is said to be built between 685 BC and 645 BC. So I don't think the wall existed when Confucius was alive.
Answered by Wayne laird from CANADA | Nov. 28, 2015 09:10

I think the wall was built before confuciusas it was started in 685 BC. Confucius lived from 551 BC to 479 BC.
Thank you
Asked by Hons from ASCENSION | Apr. 09, 2014 11:00Reply
How old is the great wall of china? Also how high is it?
Answers (2)
Answered by Lisa from IRAN | Apr. 10, 2014 01:01

Today, we all know that Emperor Qinshihuang built the Wall in China history. In fact, some states before the Qin Empire had built the wall. The wall built by Chu State in 688 BC is regarded as the oldest in China's history. So you can calculate that it is 2702 years old.

The wall we saw today were mostly built during the Ming Dynasty. It's about 3 meters tall and 10 to 15 meters wide.
Answered by Michele from UNITED STATE OF AMERICA | Nov. 30, 2014 20:26

Wow, what skill, and hard work these people had to put into the wall! What a blessing and a gift to us all! Thank you for sharing all the great pictures and questions with answers! Glory to our God!
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