The weird giant hen scratches spotted in the Gobi Desert by Google Earth might be Chinese—and not proof of aliens from outer space. Observers have been puzzled by the strange markings seen from space. But now some experts believe the marks were painted on land to help calibrate China's spy satellites. Satellite cameras likely focus on the grid, which measures half a mile wide by just over a mile long, to orient themselves in space, according to Jonathon Hill, a researcher at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University.
But not everyone is convinced. "It seems plausible that at least some of them would be targets—especially the one that looks like a big bull's eye," said Brian Weedon of the Secure World Foundation. "But some of them look pretty crazy. That one with all the lines is really weird," he tells the Los Angeles Times. "I have no idea what that could be." ET, phone home. (Read more Gobi desert stories.)