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China Building Gigantic Structures In the Desert

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the what's-your-best-guess? dept.

China 412

vbraga writes "New photos have appeared in Google Maps showing unidentified titanic structures in the middle of the Chinese desert. The first one is an intricate network of what appears to be huge metallic stripes. It's located in Dunhuang, Jiuquan, Gansu, north of the Shule River, which crosses the Tibetan Plateau to the west into the Kumtag Desert. It covers an area approximately one mile long by more than 3,000 feet wide. The tracks are perfectly executed, and they seem to be designed to be seen from orbit."

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These areas are for military (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053676)

Having watched this area and activity for years when I was in the military. There's several things that you've found out here. Some of it is "cool" and some of it is just random.

The Gobi area is rife with military activity. The Chinese frequently use it as a military training area. They use it to test new Radars/Weapons Systems/Aircraft etc... Sometimes it's nothing more than just lame artillery training and other times we've been able to catch them testing some pretty advanced weapons systems they've developed to counter our systems. This was the case when I was able to watch them over the course of a few days testing out their "Dragon Eye" system before they placed it on their Luyang II DDG's. Which is their equivalent of our "Aegis or Spy I" system on our DDG's.

The areas that are random roads are just training areas for artillery as speculated.

There are other neat things to look out for as well out in that area. They frequently test their upcoming aircraft [bee4.biz] out there all the time. You may catch them testing out their XXJ fighter, which is their answer to the F-22 and the F-35. In addition, they are testing the J-10 out there as well. You may catch things like the Y-8AEW flying around as well monitoring the activity.

Other neat areas in China to watch for military activity [bee4.biz] ...Dinghai Shipyards outside of Shanghai. This is where a lot of their current DDG's that they are creating are housed and tested. If you look closely you can see SA-10 and SA-20 arrays just outside of the shipyards. Dalian Shipyards...they build and test most of their submarines here. Guangzhou and Fuzhou are also neat areas to watch as well. In addition to the Bohai Gulf.

Up and down the Yangtze and Huang rivers you can catch glimpses of them conducting shallow water trials with their DDG's.

There ya go...have fun!

Re:These areas are for military (2, Interesting)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053774)

why the hell was the parent moderated 'Troll'? Seems quite informative and on-topic.

Re:These areas are for military (5, Informative)

FrankSchwab (675585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053788)

Because all of his links go to ads?

Re:These areas are for military (4, Informative)

keytoe (91531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054006)

Worse, his links go to an advertisement based link shortener that won't let you see the content until you sign up. Riiiiight.

Re:These areas are for military (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054028)

This could be a sign of the Chinese government having a sense of humor. How much money can we get the Americans to waste out of their military budget by investigating weird patterns that we make in the wilderness.

You can bet that if the Pentagon don't know what those patterns are for - they have significant investment spent in watching them.

Money spent watching patterns in the desert is money not spent invested in training sharks with laser beams attached to their heads to attack Chinese naval ships or their space programs, nuclear, economy, etc.

Re:These areas are for military (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054034)

Not to mention it's completely ripped off from a reddit post here:
http://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/comments/mat1s/there_appears_to_be_a_monumental_militaryscience/

Re:These areas are for military (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053798)

My guess is the links are goatse or some such. Feel free to try, I'm not going to. :-)

Re:These areas are for military (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054000)

Because this is where the emo kids hang out.

congrats, you just violated the espionage act (-1, Flamebait)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054064)

in every way that bradley manning did. i hope you don't receive life in prison. if they strip you naked in prison, look up this organization in the phonebook: "ACLU".

Re:These areas are for military (1)

MetaDFF (944558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054232)

Posting to undo accidental mod.

Re:These areas are for military (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054240)

Dude, your links don't work.

Possible use... (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053696)

Looks a lot like those fractal-based antennas they put in the back of cell phones, only a lot bigger. Made out of metal too, I assume?

Re:Possible use... (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053726)

They're contacting aliens?

they're building landing strips for gay martians (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054072)

with apologizes to the Dead Milkmen

Re:Possible use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053736)

No, the "huge metallic stripes" mentioned in the article are made out of deceased badgers.

Re:Possible use... (5, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053738)

Doesn't look like metal - you can see vehicle tracks and small bits of hills / dirt piles in the middle. What's really interesting is the lack of 'infrastructure' around it. I don't even see an obvious road in to the area. No buildings on a cursory scan. A few round crater-like areas.

I think it just spells "Welcome Alien Overlords" in Mandarin or something.

Re:Possible use... (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053778)

OTOH, give me a couple hits of blotter acid and a Caterpillar D-8 and I think I'd end up with something similar.

Re:Possible use... (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054168)

Dammit, missed! Posting to undo bogus moderation.

Re:Possible use... (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053792)

Oh, this article doesn't have the other pictures... they've found more. Google for it.

Re:Possible use... (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053956)

Doesn't look like metal - you can see vehicle tracks and small bits of hills / dirt piles in the middle. What's really interesting is the lack of 'infrastructure' around it. I don't even see an obvious road in to the area. No buildings on a cursory scan. A few round crater-like areas.

I think it just spells "Welcome Alien Overlords" in Mandarin or something.

More like: "We welcome visitors from the heavens to trade with tie our currency to yours in a fixed exchange rate. Do not attempt to communicate directly with our populace or we will be forced to construct great space firewall."

Re:Possible use... (4, Interesting)

maccallr (240314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053966)

This one (the first image in the Wired article) seems to be exactly the same dimensions as the image tiles - zoom out until you see different "vintage" images and you'll see what I mean. Could just be an artifact. The others look real though.

This is a nice tool for viewing the cross section (altitude) of an arbitrary path drawn on a google map:
http://www.geocontext.org/publ/2010/04/profiler/en/ [geocontext.org]

Re:Possible use... (2)

prehistoricman5 (1539099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054106)

Nah the first one is real. It appears to be some sort of cover on the ground. If you look at it closely you will see that there is sediment deposited on top of the white material in a manner that suggests flowing water. As you can see older flow patterns get interrupted, I'm assuming that this is some sort of plastic sheet (though the fact that it's 50m wide does intrigue me on how it would be deployed).

Re:Possible use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054166)

There is a divot/crater [google.com] in the ground at one point, and you can see the colouring on the floor of the crater with the vertical wall visible. To me, it looks like some type of powder or paint.

Re:Possible use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054216)

There are some caves on the left that the tracks lead to.

I'd have my money on training ground for military armored vehicles.

Re:Possible use... (1)

Shyvv3n (1914590) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054208)

Clearly some cross-site scripting attempts against US satellites. Oo.

Re:Possible use... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054258)

Fractal antennas are implemented in cell phones because they can be used to receive multiple frequencies with one antenna, but no radio wavelength would require an antenna that big. Good observation though.

Re:Possible use... (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054274)

That doesnt look at all like a fractal, however, which doesnt really help with that suggestion.

Damn IP Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053724)

It's a giant Ipad!

star wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053756)

Laser Satellite tests?

Re:star wars (3, Funny)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053786)

Lonely satellite making copies of Nazca.

Re:star wars (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053982)

Lonely satellite making copies of Nazca.

Perhaps it's the worlds largest joke, played on people in year 9,500, after nuclear wars, alien invasions and man rising from ignorance of 1,000 years of dark age. Gotta admit, that's pretty forward thinking.

lol genius (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054090)

i like your comment best.

Finally...QR codes for aliens (3, Funny)

mveloso (325617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053758)

Who would have thought aliens had QR code technology?

Re:Finally...QR codes for aliens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054076)

Too bad not even the super advanced aliens understand what to do with them.

Some to do with mountain cuts / water damning? (3, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053762)

Some to do with mountain cuts / water damning?

Re:Some to do with mountain cuts / water damning? (3, Insightful)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054038)

Yep, desert recultivation project? Isn't it less retarded explanation then to claim 'alien antenas', 'spy satellite calibration' or other nonsense. Looking at FTA, just another mindless Wired article. Most likely Ga Ga waxed her legs properly today so they are enduring terrible slow news day.

Google Maps (0)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053768)

The tracks are perfectly executed, and they seem to be designed to be seen from orbit.

Keep in mind most Google Maps imagery comes from airplanes and not satellites*

*No, I did not RTFA or look at the images yet.

Re:Google Maps (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053882)

It depends how zoomed in you are.

Re:Google Maps (4, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053906)

The tracks are perfectly executed, and they seem to be designed to be seen from orbit.

Keep in mind most Google Maps imagery comes from airplanes and not satellites*

*No, I did not RTFA or look at the images yet.

I'm not sure aerial photography is smiled upon over Chinese military test grounds.

Re:Google Maps (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053922)

Uh, plenty of Google maps information comes from satellites. You're a fucktard. Just learn to shut your fucking cakehole until you educate yourself.

Re:Google Maps (2)

Cosgrach (1737088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054078)

Google flying over China to get high resolution images? I doubt that very much.

Re:Google Maps (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054210)

I think Google doesn't fly anywhere, they buy the rights to the aerial images.

pit toilets (0)

swschrad (312009) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053780)

hey, they have 4 billion people. gotta be big.

Re:pit toilets (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053980)

Don't want to be a number Nazi, but it's more like 1.4 billion...

Re:pit toilets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054182)

Might need to check your sources. They have a lot, but not that many.

labor costs (2)

defective_warthog (776271) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053794)

Whatever it is it was built with really cheap labor.

Pieces of tape? (2)

guanxi (216397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053796)

I recall people finding all sorts of artifacts on Google Maps when it first came out, such as pieces of tape. Perhaps that explains some of the perfectly geometrical shapes that don't adhere to the terrain?

I'm not saying it's ancient aliens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053802)

...but it's definitely ancient aliens.

Hmmm (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053806)

Well, the third one looks a lot like a city grid. In fact, it looks exactly like the roadmaps in Google Maps of a well-organized downtown, might be some connection there. The "targeting bullseye" might well be just that (calibration for high-altitude photography, seems like the likeliest, especially with the planes in the middle.) The first one is just weird.

Make-work actually seems quite possible for the rest. Certainly wouldn't be a first for China. Anything that keeps their economy expanding they will fund, so it seems far more likely than some sort of super-weapon.

Re:Hmmm (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054136)

Well, the third one looks a lot like a city grid. In fact, it looks exactly like the roadmaps in Google Maps of a well-organized downtown, might be some connection there. The "targeting bullseye" might well be just that (calibration for high-altitude photography, seems like the likeliest, especially with the planes in the middle.) The first one is just weird.

Make-work actually seems quite possible for the rest. Certainly wouldn't be a first for China. Anything that keeps their economy expanding they will fund, so it seems far more likely than some sort of super-weapon.

The more I looked at it the more I figured it to be a mock-up of some roads. Someone pointed out a few of the outlines to the west look like aircraft cariers. I suspect if you can find where in the world these lines fit roads (my guess is in the vicinity of some nation's capitol city) you'll have an answer - target practice.

I'm just gonna put my tinfoil hat on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053816)

and be prepared for the worst,because *that* could be anything.

Art installation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053830)

Its probably and art installation by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christo_and_Jeanne-Claude

Wish they had... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053832)

Streetview

Possibly Salt Evaporation (5, Informative)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053834)

Some folks on hackernews have suggested it could be a massive salt or mineral collection operation. Not sure myself, but here is the comparison shots.

One in Israel [g.co]

California [g.co]

Re:Possibly Salt Evaporation (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053936)

Not sure... but wouldn't it require not being in the desert for there to be water to evapourate to form the lines?

It wouldn't make much sense for them to pipe seawater into the middle of the Gobi to evapourate for the salt, when they could simply desalinate closer to the coast....

Re:Possibly Salt Evaporation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054056)

But wheres the water.

designed to be seen from orbit (5, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053842)

What would they look like if they weren't designed to be seen from orbit?

Re:designed to be seen from orbit (3, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054080)

What would they look like if they weren't designed to be seen from orbit?

Then they wouldn't look so amazingly straight from orbit. Those structures occupy some pretty treacherous hilly terrain, yet look perfectly straight from above.

Built from the perspective of some unknown ground-use, not only would they tend to work with natural contours rather than stubbornly going in straight lines over hills and chasms, they quite likely wouldn't even look straight.

Amazing Detail (5, Funny)

nirgle (554262) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053862)

I'd like to know what technology they're using to get such fine etchings of the google copyright image in the sand. I'm very impressed.

I can tell you exactly what it is (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053876)

Read the first comment: http://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/comments/mat1s/there_appears_to_be_a_monumental_militaryscience/

Wait... There's More... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053888)

Similarly odd stuff at the following locations...

4027'24.96"N 9332'42.52"E

4028'37.07"N 9330'45.54"E

4028'45.58"N 9328'39.89"E

4027'25.39"N 9323'35.00"E

More stuff (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053900)

Re:More stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053928)

Warehouse 14?

Re:More stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053964)

Irrigated fields

Re:More stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054014)

Paddy fields. Workers/troops gotta eat. Guessing it's watered from a borehole since there don't appear to be any major watercourses.

Re:More stuff (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054016)

Looks agricultural. Maybe they're growing tea or some other crop. Probably have a good set of wells nearby or an aquaduct.

I am sick and tired of hearing about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053920)

I have now heard about this from about 9 gabillion different sources. I don't care anymore.

Are they simulating a city? roads? Testing optics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38053940)

Perhaps they are calibrating and testing spy satellites from orbit, and they need something "big" to do that.

Giant... (1)

baresi (950718) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053942)

... roller coaster

Check the records... (2)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053972)

Look for a correlation with massive avian die-offs.

And if you see Dominic Monaghan, run.

It's Perfectly Clear - UFO's (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38053996)

It's perfectly clear that China is trying to attract the UFO's from the Plain of Nazga to their own country landing site. What else could it possibly be?

secret stimulus package (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054008)

I think it's a stimulus package to keep people employed. Keynesian would argue that if you hire a lot of people to dig a ditch, then fill it, you'll stimulate the economy. Why not build something huge and useless and have another team of people tear it down.

Re:secret stimulus package (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054156)

Sounds like America. I'm glad Ron Paul is the front-runner now because when he gets the Oval Office, he can actually focus on things that matter (like liberating the economy from populist shackles), and not just whining about how evil China, North Korea, or Iran are.

Bombing targets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054010)

Some of them at least are bombing targets. Look at the north end of the eastern fake airfield, multiple bomb craters can clearly be seen along with ongoing repairs (both fake airfields are to the east of the 'main' structure). The 'main' structure may represent a city, most likely a Japanese city from the atypical road layout.

Think again about putting on your tinfoil hat.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054024)

Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified.

These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We speculate that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.

Source: http://berkeley.intel-research.net/arahimi/helmet/

One Word. (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054046)

Obfuscation.

Clouds and failed image processing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054086)

The textures look alot like clouds do from satellite imageing, but split in some pattern. did some cleansing algorithm at google maps go haywire?

Fun stuff in the China Desert (5, Interesting)

flyboy974 (624054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054096)

Other fun stuff in the area (just paste the Coords into Google Maps)

More "QR Codes": 40.458638,93.390827
Bunkers near the wierd lines: 40.46294,93.372341
fake runways/bases: 40.472416,93.5079
Bomb (cluster?) hits on that base: 40.489307,93.500476
Fake houses/city that have been hit; 40.413766,93.583812
Some form of ULF or other low frequency communication array? 40.413766,93.583812
Some odd town: 40.108521,93.993434
Chemical or other plant that is using A LOT of water in the middle of the desert: 40.108521,93.993434

Re:Fun stuff in the China Desert (1)

flyboy974 (624054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054256)

BTW, the item where I said it was using A LOT of water. Doesn't look like water after looking more. And it's growing. If you zoom in the north end has expanded.

Right now it's measuring in at 72sq MILES of land use (12 miles long x 6 miles wide). That thing is HUGE whatever it is.

Even has a corporate headquarters type buildings ( 40.468196,90.860839 ), large cooling towers that are 125ft wide (40.462246,90.859235), truck depot (40.478358,90.877597).

At least ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054104)

... the Chinese know where all our spy satellites will be looking [wikipedia.org] .

See TFA (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054124)

There are a couple pics in TFA. It appears that there are various multi-mile area targets. HAARP sized comes to mind. I mean.. if you could get that accurate, you would have the next perfect weapon.

how did it get there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054138)

how was it done is more of an interesting question to me.

Injected fake images? (2)

TwineLogic (1679802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054142)

The symmetric circular image looks like an optical illusion. Is China using a device which projects false images into over-passing satellites?
The picture might not reflect reality on the ground. In particular, the image with what appears to be some kind of raster looks like it was taken during some kind of "interference."

trivial explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054154)

try squinting really hard while drawing a perfect grid, and this is what you'll get

West of that location (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054164)

I'm more interested in the huge (looking at the scale bar) series of what appear to be dams of water just to the west of the site.

Google Earth - historic imagery (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054180)

I'm sure somebody's already suggested this somewhere, but didn't spot it in this comment thread - so any discussion regarding the historic imagery available through Google Earth (which shows some development progress of these 'structures'), here's a thread starter :)

I didn't see anything too exciting, though. I do wonder why so many of the buildings (especially to the north, near the 'airstrips' are rather blue).. could be image processing, but.. blue? Odd.

large sticker antenna to boost radio signal (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054188)

just like the ones for the back of your cell phone only bigger so they can communicate with their soon to be launched space station. Zoom in and you'll see a guy sitting in a bamboo chair with a radio in the upper left corner of the sticker.

LoB

stop the madness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054196)

Somebody stop them from whatever they're doing!

Small (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054222)

These are not all that gigantic..If you pan over to the west of it there is a building with solar panels on the roof that looks a good bit larger than the "structure"

Money (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054230)

It's what's left of the US economy.

China has hacked Google before... (1)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054254)

... so maybe we're still finding out all that they corrupted. Or maybe this is the Chinese equivalent of crop circles.

Interesting thread on this from reddit (2)

amanicdroid (1822516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38054270)

zjpennington's reddit thread [reddit.com]

..The Gobi area is rife with military activity. The Chinese frequently use it as a military training area. They use it to test new Radars/Weapons Systems/Aircraft etc... Sometimes it's nothing more than just lame artillery training and other times we've been able to catch them testing some pretty advanced weapons systems they've developed to counter our systems. This was the case when I was able to watch them over the course of a few days testing out their "Dragon Eye" system before they placed it on their Luyang II DDG's. Which is their equivalent of our "Aegis or Spy I" system on our DDG's..

(At least one commenter has quoted this thread without proper attribution.)

X-files take 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38054276)

funny how that show had as fantasy the same things....in a desert...

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