Thursday, 17 November 2011

Strange Objects In Gobi Desert

The Chinese have been busy in the Gobi Desert it seems. Wired has the best coverage of the story I've seen so far, although I got it from J.M. Cole and it was originally dropped to someone at the Telegraph (so apparently that place has not quite been taken over by the "women's interests" section yet). Apparently, people have been using Google Earth/Maps to observe what's been going on in this region of the Gobi since 2004. Here are some of the snaps I took just in the last half hour or so...

These two images above have been drawing perhaps the most attention. The first* shows one square and one rectangular configuration - both of vast proportions - seemingly carved into the desert. The second shows a neatly cicular, target-like arrangement of what seem to be shipping containers and other objects with three aircraft surrounding the centre of the arrangement. Each of the three aircraft appear to be early Mig fighters (e.g. Mig 21s) since they all have the same swept-back wing design and truncated nose - although it is difficult to be sure from the resolution.

This next image, taken at greater distance, shows three airfield-like structures. Two of them are several kilometers in length. The one to the left and the one in the centre both have the same basic, dual "runway" design whereas the smaller one to the right is a short single strip. The one to the left appears to have fallen into disuse many, many years ago; the one in the centre appears to be a replacement for it since it follows the same design and is a shiny, metallic hue. The smaller one to the right also has the same shiny metallic hue, but appears to be partially damaged by mudslides.

The image also shows some smaller, square-like structures adjacent to the top right of each of the two larger "airfields". To the top right of the older, disused "airfield" there is this bright blue square covered in what seem to be bomb craters...

To the top right of the newer "airfield" are what appears to be an approximately circular arrangement of seven, partially destroyed, hangar-like buildings, the largest three of which feature very bright blue roofing materials.

Adjacent to the central "airfield" there is also what looks something like a partially destroyed barracks...

There are several other objects visible on the google maps satellite overview of this area including what seems to be an electricity transformer station in addition to some vast, bright metallic blue structure and other interesting things. I may add more to this sometime tommorow.


Here are some of the other structures within the vicinity of those mentioned earlier. First, the large sky-blue coloured structure - perhaps some sort of vast artificial reservoir or other water containment or treatment system?

The white blocks to the right of this next image below appear to be regular and square shaped, with light reflecting from some of them which suggests they could be solar panels. As to the green and white rectangular shaped objects to the left of the image - I have no idea.

*[Later...] Speculation as to the purpose of the rectangular, "street-like" arrangements seems to focus either on their possible function for the calibration of satellite cameras, or as some sort of mock-up of a U.S. or other city.

With regard to the first conjecture, I am not in a position to say anything knowledgable but it does seem that the structure is a rather complicated and uneconomic way of achieving that aim - if the need is for a large site of known dimensions with sufficient visual contrast, then why not, for instance, simply focus on beaches? At the coast there is a naturally stark visual contrast between the sand and the sea (or the sand and nearby urban structures such as roads). If it is objected that erosion of the sand would make the beach an unreliable site, then why couldn't they simply paint the artificial wavebreakers? The conjecture may be correct that these things are for satellite camera calibration, but I'm yet to be convinced of this.

In respect of the second conjecture, the unspoken assumption that the rectangular "street-like" arrangement is to model radiation fallout in a city-centre strikes me as so unlikely as to be absurd; if the PLA were to launch a nuclear attack on a city (e.g. Taipei), then the pattern of nuclear fallout on a mere several mile scale is the last thing they'd worry about. If that tacit assumption is discarded, then it is difficult to imagine what purpose the PLA could achieve by modelling a city road map out in the desert. Taken together then, I think this conjecture has to be relegated to an implausible status.

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