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There are only two man-made structures clearly visible from outer-space.

1. The Great Wall of China

2. Fresh Kills Landfill – the world’s largest landfill.

Of course, the Fresh Kills fill is now closed and is slated to become a park and recreation area in the middle of New York City – and will be three times larger than Central Park.

You can see design and construction plans here.

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6 Responses to “Fun Facts to Know and Tell: “Trash” Edition”

  1. Harry says:

    I guess you could pick it out if you knew what to look for, which would be like nine golf courses put together, plus athletic fields.

  2. Scott says:

    Wow. That is simply incredible. Amazing. Most exciting thing I have read about recently.

  3. Harry says:

    OK, WC, I am not normally picky, especially when it comes to fun facts, but 2200 acres is not a big area by western standards, and it depends on how you define “from space”, I assume included as by the naked eye in low Earth orbit. It seems the landfillers, from the pics, have done a good job of making the landfill unnoticeable from other features of metropolitan New York. If you are 500 miles up, you can make out Greenland and the St, Lawrence Seaway, and with sharp eyes, maybe the Mississipi, but one still has to use political imagination to see the Great Wall. OK, John Glenn said he saw the Great Wall, but he was a Marine ace pilot.

    If one gets up to 38,000 feet and travels at 550 mph for four or five hours in any direction and looks down, one realizes that the New York metropolitan area is but a flyspeck from a small fly. Fly over Chicago at that altitude, and you can see Chicago, but you have to know where Midway and O’Hare are to pick them out in daytime. At night, they are green and white beacons. A half degree covers hundreds of sections of square-mile fields in Kansas.

    Bet you cannot see Disney World from space, and that’s a lot more than 2200 acres.

    However, from the trash perspective, I think it is great that they can do so well.

    • RIT_Rich says:

      There are, of course, a lot of man-made structures that can be seen with the naked eye from low earth orbit (at least where manned spacecraft operate, which is about 160 or so miles up). The Great Wall, however, is not one of them. It is too thin to be seen. It’s a myth that it can.

      Lots of other objects, however, can be seen, such as dams, highways, bridges, ports, power plants, very large buildings like the Pentagon or the Pyramids, or man-made islands that rich Sheikhs like to pi** their money away on.

  4. wintercow20 says:

    I should have been clearer – the two claims above are commonly made by recycling and waste reduction proponents, the last time I came across it was in Edward Humes’ book Garbology.

    • Michael says:

      Slightly off topic, I’ve pondered about getting a book of wrong facts in academia, such as Columbus discovering a round earth, Ben Franklin and the kite experiment, Einstein flunking math, the Chevy Nova being unpopular in Spanish-speaking territory, etc. I’m not sure one exists, nor do I think I am fully capable of writing one.

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