Ask Marilyn

Albuquerque Journal - Parade - - PARADE PICKS - by Marilyn vos Sa­vant

An an­swer in my board game states that the Great Wall of China is the only man­made ob­ject on Earth vis­i­ble from the Moon. Is this true? —P. Saun­ders, Sil­verdale, Wash. No. The Great Wall is one of the largest struc­tures ever built—up to 30 feet wide and about 4,000 miles long—but it isn’t any eas­ier to see than the U.S. in­ter­state high­way sys­tem. Both of them, and plenty more, are vis­i­ble with binoc­u­lars from a low or­bit of 200 miles.

Yet as­tro­naut Alan Bean noted in 1969 that when his space­craft was only a few thou­sand miles from Earth, no sign of civ­i­liza­tion could be seen. So from the Moon it­self, which is 239,000 miles away, for­get it. With an un­aided eye, you couldn’t even see the state of Texas.

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