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I have removed the following: "Note that due to the size of the wall (narrow and long), it is likely either an urban legend that simply will not die or perhaps he was referring to species with better optics technology." It is possible to see the Great Wall from Earth orbit on a cloudless day with just the right light and if you know where to look. It is not an urban legend. See the Wikipedia article, which after discussing it at length concludes: "These inconsistent results suggest the visibility [from orbit] of the Great Wall depends greatly on the seeing conditions, and also the direction of the light (oblique lighting increasing the angular size of the Wall through the addition of a shadow to the physical width of the Wall). Features on the moon that are dramatically visible at times can be undetectable on others, due to changes in lighting direction." It is therefore inaccurate to say that Neelix's statement is an urban legend. Aholland 19:00, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
- At less than 10m wide, it is invisible from space. That's something that numerous astronauts have confirmed over the years, noting that they can't even see the pyramids, one of the largest man-made structures on Earth. According to Jay Apt (one of the Shuttle Astronauts:
- We look for the Great Wall of China. Although we can see things as small as airport runways, the Great Wall seems to be made largely of materials that have the same color as the surrounding soil. Despite persistent stories that it can be seen from the moon, the Great Wall is almost invisible from only 180 miles up!
- And 180 miles up is one of the lowest possible orbits that the Shuttle ever makes. See this Urban Legend page for some more notes on the matter (noting that the Wall is totally invisible on the photos from space from the Space Shuttle that NASA has in their archives). -- Sulfur 19:07, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
And yet, according to U.S. Senator Jake Garn, and astronauts Ed Lu and Gene Cernan, it is visible from orbit. Unless we are prepared to call these guys liars, I don't see how we can say it is invisible under all circumstances. Also, since non-geostationary orbits can be as low as 124 miles (200 km), it almost certainly can be seen from that distance. Had Neelix made the claim that you could see it from the moon, we would be right to include the note. But he didn't; he only said from an undisclosed orbital distance it could be seen. I see nothing to contradict that, although if you wanted to include a note that from medium to high orbits it is difficult to see, that would probably be okay. Aholland 19:23, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
- I made a note on the article to that effect, putting in part of Jay Apt's quote also (which might help describe the difficulty, etc, etc). -- Sulfur 19:53, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
The note's pretty good, but is there an official NASA stance on the issue? I was under the impression it was only anecdotal stuff from astronauts. If there is not official stance, the claim that NASA is saying anything as to the subject should be removed. Aholland 20:02, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
- I actually originally meant to specify the astronauts, and was distracted at the time of entry. I've readapted it a touch to suit now. -- Sulfur 23:21, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
I think that reads much better. Thanks! Aholland 01:20, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
- Regarding the above quote by Senator Garn and astronauts Lu and Cernan... the question is at what orbit they were at, and, more significantly, whether other man-made objects were also visible at that height. The urban legend isn't solely that the Great Wall can be seen from space; it's that it's the only man-made object that can be seen from space. In other words, the urban legend is false even if the Great Wall can in fact be seen, since at any orbit from where it can be seen, other man-made objects can be seen (and more clearly, at that) as well. In other words, even if the Great Wall may be visible in some circumstances, in no circumstances is it the only man-made object visible from space, no matter how space is defined. Jay Apt's quote about seeing small runways makes that clear; in addition, I have added a link to a BBC article noting China's official stance after its space flight, acknowledging the falsity of the urban legend. Puritan 05:06, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
- It could be that the Great Wall of the Star Trek universe is significantly larger than that of the real world; it is also possible that this urban legend persists into the 24th century (at least as to pre-22nd century man-made objects and the observability of the Earth from space with pre-22nd century technology) and that Neelix and Janeway have both fallen victim to it.
- Neelix was also in error regarding the length of the wall; it is actually almost 6,400 kilometers long. Because the dialog is exactly 4,000 kilometers off, it is possible that Ethan Phillips misread the script and the correction deemed too minor to re-film. Alternatively, it is possible 4,000 kilometers of the wall was demolished between now and 2375.
As much as it's nice to mention these things, they're speculative. In a big way. -- sulfur 14:37, December 23, 2009 (UTC)
- While we don't want speculation, I think we should at least acknowledge, in a background section, that these figures are totally off. Apparently, the Wall is currently considered to have an overall length of 8850km, with 6260km being actual wall. None of that comes close to 2400km, and neither is it some exact round figure off. It just seems to be wrong, or probably outdated information. -- Cid Highwind 16:34, December 23, 2009 (UTC)
True. I wanted to try to avoid any nitpickage, etc. So I've worded it similarly to your comment. -- sulfur 16:39, December 23, 2009 (UTC)