21 March 2008

Factoid Friday!

Today we will be clearing up a small misunderstood bit of information regarding the Great Wall of China.

Many times I have heard and read the following statement, "The Great Wall of China is so large, it is the only man-made object visible from the moon." It's been quoted so many times it's got to be true, right? Wrong!

This commonly accepted statement, my dear readers, is false. I'm sorry to be the one to pop your bubble, but I must.

Yes, the Great Wall of China is 4000 miles long, and 4000 miles is definitely visible from the moon. But in the widest sections, it is only 30 feet wide, a measurement too small for our eyes to make out if we were standing on that big round of cheese floating in space.

To explain it simply, think of it in this situation. Two people are standing on opposite sides of a football field. One is holding a rather long piece of string in his outstretched arms. (That string is the Great Wall.) Can the person on the other side of the field see the string? Nope. It just isn't wide enough to see. He could get a longer and longer piece of string, but it wouldn't make a difference. It's just too thin.

Now to be honest, there is a general consensus that from a very low orbit, the wall is just barely visible if you know exactly where to look and the atmospheric conditions are perfect. But even then there are astronauts that dispute it.

So take this bit of knowledge with you and spread the word, because that, my friends, is a factoid.

Got a lot of my info from our friends at Wikipedia.

No comments: