The Great Wall of China snakes through the remote Jiankou region north of Beijing. (Intel)

The Great Wall of China snakes through the remote Jiankou region north of Beijing. (Intel)

Members of the Intel team operate a Falcon 8+ drone from atop the Wall. (Intel)

Members of the Intel team operate a Falcon 8+ drone from atop the Wall. (Intel)

Large sections of the wall are dangerously crumbling. (Intel)

Large sections of the wall are dangerously crumbling. (Intel)

An Intel Falcon 8+ drone hovers above a deteriorating part of the Great Wall of China. (Intel)

An Intel Falcon 8+ drone hovers above a deteriorating part of the Great Wall of China. (Intel)

Members of the Intel team look at the brickwork of the wall. (Intel)

Members of the Intel team look at the brickwork of the wall. (Intel)

The Intel team hikes up a section of the wall carrying cameras, computer equipment, and drones. (Intel)

The Intel team hikes up a section of the wall carrying cameras, computer equipment, and drones. (Intel)

A drone is prepared for a flight to examine crumbling sections of the wall. (Intel)

A drone is prepared for a flight to examine crumbling sections of the wall. (Intel)

Fixing the Great Wall

Posted: March 4, 2019

Crack. Crumble. Crash! Another dusty block from the Great Wall of China tumbles down.

The Great Wall is a great symbol for the nation of China. People come from all over the world to see it. But here’s what’s not so great. The wall is falling down. The wall stretches 13,000 miles across the huge country. Parts of the wall snake through rugged mountains where there are no roads or trails. People built the wall in such hard-to-reach spots on purpose! The walls were meant to keep invaders out—and a difficult landscape helps with that. But now people want to fix this gigantic piece of history. Huge stone blocks teeter on weak sections. How can engineers examine such a massive and unreachable structure without huge blocks falling on them? Now they have a new tool to help—drones.

People use cameras on drones to check the walls for weakened sections. Then teams can trek in and work on those areas. The sharp cliffs won’t hold large, modern tools and machines used for building. So most of the rebuilding work is done by hand and with the same materials used in the original construction. Tough mules help people carry hundreds of pounds of stone up the mountains, just like they did hundreds and even thousands of years ago when the wall was first built.

Back then, people used bricks, blocks, dirt, stone, and reeds to build the wall. Even some wall parts built of sand still stand! People carried most of their supplies by hand. Sometimes they used wheelbarrows or pulled materials up over valleys using baskets and ropes. Camels may have helped transport materials across deserts. One legend says goats traveled up mountains with bricks tied to their horns!

Many people died doing the dangerous work. Wall restorers hope drones can help them fix the wall safely.