INTERNET SLEUTHS think they have uncovered a rocket hidden within a desert on Google Maps.
One Reddit user by the handle u/GREATD4NNY posted a Google Maps screenshot on the forum r/GoogleMaps four days ago.
In the image, a rocket-like structure could be seen erecting from the ground.
“Is that a rocket?” the Reddit user asked, before sharing the location’s coordinates: 38,9700071 and 83,6647464.
Entering the coordinates into Google Maps directs users to a rocket-like site deep within the Taklamakan Desert.
The Taklamakan sits in southwestern Xinjiang in Northwest China – it is bounded by mountains to the south, west, and north, and the Gobi Desert to the east.
Several users quickly replied to the Reddit thread to offer their opinions.
“That’s quite a road to nowhere you followed. Very interesting! Not a rocket, however,” one user said.
“There’s a ton of these things in the area. Maybe oil/gas wells?” a second user chimed in.
A third person echoed that statement, adding that they thought the site to be an “oil processing plant with deflagrated gas” near the town of Tazhong.
Meanwhile, another user pointed out: “I don’t think it’s a rocket. There are no big enough road/rail in and out of the ‘launch pad’.”
While the general consensus appeared to be that the site was not hosting a rocket, one user dissented.
“This article has a bit of information and a map of locations for the CCP missile force. https://chinapower.csis.org/conventional-missiles/,” the user noted.
The article indicates that there are rocket brigades in the desert, but it does not confirm that the site in question is a missile launchpad.
“China’s land-based conventional missile capabilities have developed significantly over the last several years,” the article noted.
“According to the US Department of Defense (DoD), China’s missile forces in 2000 were ‘generally of short-range and modest accuracy’.”
China began gaining an interest in rocketry and missiles before the launch of Sputnik in 1957.
However, it was not until nearly a decade later that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) successfully launched a ballistic missile.
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