Mysterious Formations Found In China

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The internet is all abuzz about something weird going on in the Gobi Desert in western China. One of the shapes consists of thick white lines drawn at irregular angles. When zoomed-in, erosion has erased some parts of the lines suggesting they were put there several years ago. Check it out for yourself in Google Maps, here.

Jonathon Hill, a research technician and mission planner at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, says the shapes are used to calibrate China’s spy satellites. The operators would program the satellite to point to the shape and then correlate the received image with the known shape to calculate a pointing error that would be used to correct subsequent pointings. That would explain the irregular lines, so as not to be confused with natural geological structures. The white color would provide excellent contrast.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, an industry watchdog and critic, said the China formations appeared to be conventional aerial and missile bombing targets.

Another odd geometric formation can be found on Google Maps here.

Other sites are claiming that this is China’s Area 51 where captured alien technology is kept and tested.

Other sites are claiming it’s the Chinese messin’ with us.

H/T: Wired, viewzone, Life’s Little Mysteries, NY Times.

19 thoughts on “Mysterious Formations Found In China

  1. No, you’re supposed to move your cell phone over the image and it gives you the latest information on the new “Twilight” movie…

  2. That was a few days ago, it’s now thought they are just simple military targets, with the large semi random one made to be an intentionally difficult exercise for targeting or navigation.

    Apparently, satellite calibration can be done with much more simple patterns, google corona satellite calibration.

    On the other hand, Girl Reporter’s theory is the best I’ve heard so far.

  3. Such phenomenon are usually over-dramatized. Bored farmers drawing shapes on their fields end up triggering UFO hunts. Occam’s Razor could be of assistance.

    The second “markings” linked from this article seem to me like simple tracks, for instance left being by all-terrain tank driving practice. I know, it’s not very news-worthy…

  4. Nothing to see here. Move along folks. Nothing to see here. If you don’t leave you will be subject to arrest. Nothing to see here. It’s only a weather balloon. Move along folks. Give me that camera! Nothing to see here.

  5. Looks like a nice work of art to me. There’s a category of art called “Land Art”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_art

    and this looks like an example to me. It’s a pretty broad category. Some pieces are pretty easy to grasp, like Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. Others are pretty nebulous – like Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field, which is a big field of lightning rods, but most people who view it don’t get to see a single lighting strike. I can’t begin to explain why I’m so excited by the prospect of someday getting to walk through James Turrell’s Roden Crater project – but I guess that’s why it’s art.

    From the Google Earth image, the lines appear to be about 50′ wide – which is tough to do at that scale. Nonetheless, it seems plausible that an artist with some support crew could head out to the middle of nowhere, “paint” this huge piece, wait for it to be found, watch the global hullabaloo, and then fess up once we’ve all spilled our subconcious guts projecting our fears and desires on this effectively arbitrary signifier.

    If not art, I like the drunk aliens explanation. (Or maybe prankster aliens just messin’ with us.)

  6. streets of washington dc (with masonic symbols on it). if you turn the lines so that the 3 stars, one with the oblique circle in the middle, is at the bottom. and you look at the street map of dc, skew the map, it would appear to be a 2d vector map.

    i am taking a guess, but if a chinese sat were just cresting over the horizon, the line would be flat and in line with dc streets. right edge would be the capital building. just imagine in your mind, tilting the image ‘flatter.’

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