The said structure was discovered in Google Map images. Military pundits, armchair investigator, and conspiracy theorists have had a field day with the strange set of lines, which seems to not make any sense, although numerous theories could be drawn out, none of them have supporting evidence.
Among the theories/hypothesis that were made were:
It's a UFO landing strip!
It's a mockup of the streets of Washington, D.C., constructed for nefarious military purposes!
It's China's Area 51!
It's a top-secret military installation doing experiments in controlling the weather!
It's a nuclear testing range!
It's a military base!
It's a new weapon!
It's a hoax: the Google Map images themselves are fakes, and the lines are not actually there!
And the long list of guesses goes on...
A previous Discover News piece concluded that it probably had some military significance (such as target practice range, based in part on the fact that other similar sites in the area had airplanes sitting in them).
However, a space researcher has offered what he believes is the correct solution to the mystery that's been flying around cyberspace for quite a while already. The researcher was a NASA scientist, and his theory seems to be most plausible. "They are almost definitely used to calibrate China's spy satellites," says Jonathan Hill, a research technician and mission planner at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, which operates many of the camera used during NASA's Marsa missions.
China, like many countries including the United States, is known to have spy satellites in orbit. There's been no official explanation from the Chinese government - which is not surprising, since China doesn't need to explain some white lines in its desert to anyone.