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Photos: Turns Out Mars Looks a Lot Like the Mojave Desert

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The Mars rover, Curiosity, which has settled on the Red Planet in a region known as Gale Crater, has sent its first batch of black-and-white images that will be put together as a panorama, reports the Associated Press.

The rover also Tweeted that its already at work:

As it so happens, scientists out of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who are overseeing the Curiosity endeavor, have already noted just how amazingly familiar the landscape there is, likening it to California's Mojave Desert.

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“The first impression that you get is how Earth-like this seems looking at that landscape,” said chief scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology.

The ancient Martian crater where the Curiosity rover landed looks strikingly similar to the Mojave Desert in California with its looming mountains and hanging haze, scientists said Wednesday.

“The first impression that you get is how Earth-like this seems looking at that landscape,” said chief scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology. “It kind of makes you feel at home,” he added. “We’re looking at a place that feels really comfortable.”

The desert-like landscape of Mars is something armchair space explorers and scientists alike have noticed before, considering the wealth of images from previous Mars rover missions, like Opportunity, Pathfinder, and Spirit, sent down to earth and turned into panoramas. Those images are viewable online via Mars Arounder.

We've taken some of the images issued by Curiosity, and some grabs from the older panoramas, for a look at the landscape of the planet--you know, in case you want your day to feel a little small and insignificant. Curiosity's 360-degree color images could on their way to JPL as early as Thursday.

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Also, check out this JPL video that "zooms in" on Gale Crater and the site of the Curiosity landing:

Also: First Color Picture Of Mars (from Curiosity), Plus Video Of Mars Curiosity's Descent
10 Stunning Recent Pictures From Mars