Let’s kick off 2009 by shattering the tired old myth that “the Great Wall of China is the only man made object visible from the Moon.” It isn’t.
While in a low orbit (an altitude of about 185 km), a viewer of good eyesight can see portions of the Great Wall of China from space. It isn’t, however, unique in that regard. From such a height, a multitude of land features and man-made objects are visible, including: highways, ships at sea, dams, railroads, cities, fields of crops, airports, and even some individual buildings. As to the claim that it is the only man-made object visible from the Moon, this is completely false. None of the Apollo astronauts reported seeing any man-made object from the Moon, and certainly not the Great Wall. The Great Wall, while massive, is comparatively thin, no wider than 10 feet (3 meters) along most of its length. Moreover, the colour of the Great Wall is very similar to that of the soil around it, making it hardly distinctive.
Actually Wikipedia’s “List of common misconceptions“, makes for great reading. Bookmark it for myth-busting reference through out 2009.
And happy New Year by the way. :)