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Where's the Great Wall?

For some reason this is a disappointment to me. I always thought that you could see the Great Wall of China from space.

BEIJING, (AFP) - China is rewriting its elementary school textbooks after its first astronaut came back to Earth and announced that the Great Wall cannot be seen from space after all

full article

In a possible added complication of the issue, US astronaut Gene Cernan was quoted in Singapore's Straits Times over the weekend as saying that he, for one, had indeed seen the Great Wall from outer space.

The chinese astronaut said he saw scenery, so I'm assuming the capsule had windows.


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Comments (6)

Horror of Horrors! I have b... (Below threshold)
Alex:

Horror of Horrors! I have been to the GWOC no fewer than 4 times, and each time I went, they told me, "This is the only man made structure you can see from space." Every.last.tour.guide. Perhaps their astronaut was wrong. Yes, that must be it. Did he sneeze when they were flying over the Asian continent?

Heh, Now I'm afraid they w... (Below threshold)
Rodney Dill:

Heh, Now I'm afraid they will go to the moon and say they don't see any other footprints there.

Take a look at <a href="htt... (Below threshold)

Take a look at this picture taken by NASA

Description: These radar images show two segments of the Great Wall of China in a desert region of north-central China, about 700 kilometers (434 miles) west of Beijing. The wall appears as a thin orange band, running from the top to the bottom of the left image, and from the middle upper-left to the lower-right of the right image. These segments of the Great Wall were constructed in the 15th century, during the Ming Dynasty. The wall is between 5 and 8 meters high (16 to 26 feet) in these areas. The entire wall is about 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) long and about 150 kilometers (93 miles) of the wall appear in these two images. The wall is easily detected from space by radar because its steep, smooth sides provide a prominent surface for reflection of the radar beam. Near the center of the left image, two dry lake beds have been developed for salt extraction. Rectangular patterns in both images indicate agricultural development, primarily wheat fields.

The images were acquired by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) onboard the space shuttle Endeavour on April 10, 1994. SIR-C/X-SAR, a joint mission of the German, Italian and the United States space agencies, is part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. The left image is centered at 37.7 degrees North latitude and 107.5 degrees East longitude. The right image is centered at 37.5 degrees North latitude and 108.1 degrees East longitude. North is toward the upper right. Each area shown measures 25 kilometers by 75 kilometers (15.5 miles by 45.5 miles). The colors in the image are assigned to different frequencies and polarizations of the radar as follows: red is L- band horizontally transmitted, horizontally received; green is L- band horizontally transmitted, vertically received; blue is C-band horizontally transmitted, vertically received.

I think when they say "seen... (Below threshold)
Pete:

I think when they say "seen from space" they mean by the human eye. Look carefully at the upper left of the image... looks like a city/farm/something... which would be man-made and suggest to me, a lay person, that there was a significant amount of magnification by the telescope. Furthermore, it seems from the text quoted that those are radar images, not visible-light images.

If the Great Wall is the on... (Below threshold)

If the Great Wall is the only manmade structure that can be seen from space, how did all those spacewalking astronauts find their way back into those manmade structures they rode into orbit?

</moron>

I think that I had read or ... (Below threshold)

I think that I had read or heard before that the claim that the Great Wall is the only man-made structure that can be seen from space is not true... I don't remember what the specifics were about that, though. I think perhaps that I may have read that there was more than one man-made structure that could be seen from space.

Anyway, this also tells you something about the Chinese government. On the one hand, it seems that they have some principle. On the other hand, from that article, it seems that there is an education ministry that regulates what specifically goes in the elementary school textbooks. Other countries, including the United States, do have standards for textbooks and school curiculla, but for a country like China, it is probably much more stringent, and much more controlled and regulated.

Will have to look up info on that Great Wall issue...




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