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Is it the Mojave or Mars? New photos from the red planet may blur the line

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Californians and other West Coast denizens may have a whole new drinking game on their hands, as even more pictures are released of the craggly, dune-y, suspiciously Mojave-looking “red planet."

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena have spent the past week piecing together panoramas of black and white images that the Mars rover Curiosity has been steadily sending since Sunday.

“You would really be forgiven for thinking that NASA was trying to pull a fast one on you and we actually put a rover out in the Mojave Desert and took a picture," said project scientist John Grotzinger, referencing one snapshot near the rim of Gale Crater. 

"The thing that’s amazing about this is [that] to a certain extent, the first impression you get is how earth-like this seems.”

Scientists said pictures of marks in the ground that rover engines made during landing reveal a first glimpse of bedrock below the planet’s pebbly surface.  

NASA plans to release more Mars photos over the next few days, including a color panorama.

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