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Chinese Secrets from Space: Earth Image of the Week November 25, 2011
Satellite images of wierd Chinese patterns.
Objects, scraped desert and even painted surfaces make up several mysterious patterns in remote China.
Bizarre and titanic manmade creations in a remote part of China’s Gobi Desert have satellite image observers scratching their heads.

The newly found objects were observed by readers of Gizmodo, and are readily available to anyone through Google Maps or Google Earth.

Some appear to be intricate networks of stripes across the landscape in northwest China’s Gansu province, just north of the Shule River.

Tim Ripley, a defense expert from Jane’s Defense Weekly, compared the structures to patterns in Area 51, the not-so-secret United States military test base in Nevada.

And Jonathon Hill, a research technician and mission planner at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, says at least some of the lines are almost definitely used to calibrate China’s spy satellites.

One of the most striking patterns is a collection of jet fighters and other objects aligned to form an apparent target of concentric circles. Hill says he believes they are probably used as a calibration/test target for orbiting radar sensors.

The right image of the composite to the upper right shows grids of zigzagging white lines. Hill says they are probably small roadways used to support some sort of Yagi antenna array, which could be used for weather observations and experiments.

All of the objects are relatively close to each other in a mainly uninhabited region of China, indicating they are part of some sort of military zone or test range.

Images: DigitalGlobe™