The first photo of the gallery (the first one on earth page) shows an area where a similar size drawing existed in 2008 as can be seen here - it also does not exist.
The dry lake surface is like a giant etch a sketch. Any vehicle moving across it's surface makes a temporary mark.
Generally vehicles make more of a mark in the spring, when the surface is moist, less of a mark in the fall when the surface is drier. At times of the year when there are many visitors (summer/fall) the whole area has thousands of vehicle tracks... something like motorized snail trails.
Weather destroys all these marks, mostly because of rain and the occasional filling of the basin, but also from sun, freezing, wind, snow, etc.
The area is managed the Bureau of Land Management and has a long history of vehicle use. The world land speed record occurred here. A recent Porsche commercial uses the site to show off the ability of a large herd of historic porsche to illustrate a giant tree on the desert surface...with car tracks (I believe this was done with CGI). Several miles to the west 50,000 people (with vehicles) come to the Burning Man arts festival in late summer every year.
I do not ask permission from the Bureau of Land Management to make a drawing. Driving is a permitted activity. An agent of the Bureau of Land Management visited us during work on the 2008 drawing and reminded us to have plenty of water and other supplies. We explained our work and showed him what we were doing. He was kind enough to be careful while leaving our campsite and avoided driving over the composition (his tracks can be seen in the upper left of this photo - as he avoids running over the central circles).
Sometimes there is a lake - here is a photo from space with the drawing washing away on June 16th 2009.
The press has mentioned use of dragging bed springs and chain link fencing to rough the surface for line making. The idea was to simulate the prepping of baseball fields which leaves a wide mark. We used both methods but they were quickly abandoned as they did not work very well. The drawing was composed by driving around in circles. The smaller circles were composed freehand walking with a stick and the line was then made wider by driving around in circles.
How much fuel is that? Five or six trips to town to fill the tank of a Dodge Ram. The average summer ATV enthusiast uses way more but they don't recreate in such an organized pattern.