The Great Wall of China is one of the most well known man-made objects on the Earth. It is located in Northern China and stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east, to Lop Nur in the west. It is not actually one continuous wall as many people believe, but a series of short walls, trenches, mountains and rivers. It was originally built to protect the Chinese empire from intrusion by various different nomadic groups in the 5th century. It was constructed over 2,000 years ago by Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China during the Qin (Ch’in) Dynasty (221 B.C – 206 B.C.) Most of the wall that remains today was actually built by the Ming Dynasty between 1368 and 1644. It helped defend the Chinese empire against repeated attacks for the Mongolian tribes.
The wall is constructed of masonry, rocks and packed-earth. Some sections of the wall have turrets and watch houses. Its thickness ranged from about 15 to 30 feet (4.5 to 9 meters) and was up to 25 feet (7.5 meters) tall. The most comprehensive studies done on the Great Wall of China show that it is 5,500.3 miles (8,851.8 km) in length. This includes all its branches, trenches and natural defenses. The actual wall components make up 3,889.5 miles (6,259.6 km). The rest of the length is comprised of 223.5 miles (359.7 km) of trenches and 1,387.2 miles (2,232.5 km) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers.
Can you see the Great Wall of China from space?
It is commonly believed that The Great Wall of China is the only manmade object that can be seen by the naked eye from space. This is not true. The astronauts that landed on the moon reported that they could not see The Great Wall of China. This myth has been perpetuated through various sources such as the 1932 Ripley’s Believe it or Not cartoon and in Richard Halliburton’s 1938 book Second Book of Marvels. It has never been verified by any astronauts and in most cases a river or canal has been mistaken or the great wall. Our eyes are not made to see something as small as the Great Wall of China from space. The fact that the wall is also very close to the color of its surroundings would make it difficult to pinpoint also.