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Blood relation
Mars represented the god of war for the Vikings, the Greeks and the Romans. In Assyria, it was known as the "Shedder of Blood".
Rusty world
The surface area of Mars is around the same as the land area of Earth. Its red colour is due to oxidised iron minerals in the surface rocks - in other words rust!
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LATEST: Opportunity is poised on the rim of the crater Endurance


The first spectacular photo from orbit
by Mars Express on January 14 shows
the Grand Canyon Valles Marineris.
EXPLORATION of Mars is well under way following the arrival of an international flotilla of spacecraft just months after the planet came closer to Earth than in any time in almost 60,000 years.
European and American missions have reached the Red Planet and are, at the start of 2004, enjoying mixed success.
Two Mars Rovers - Spirit and Opportunity - touched down safely and have been returning amazing pictures. A major computer fault on Spirit was speedily repaired by NASA and it was back to full health in early February.
Britain's Beagle 2 lander is still missing, presumed dead, after landing on Christmas Day. Its mothership, Europe's Mars Express, has gone into orbit and is operating perfectly. US President George Bush has announced a revitalised space programme that could eventually see humans journeying to Mars.
Many people around the world enjoyed dazzling views of the Red Planet in 2003. MarsMania will help you see Mars for yourself, tell you about past and present space missions there and answer many of your questions about this amazing planet.
Our special guide will bring you the latest news reports - and point you to the best links and books to read to find out more. And although you can't go there - yet - you CAN get the T-shirt with our own fun designs!

Nasa's Rover Spirit landed successfully
but developed a computer fault which
NASA repaired over several days

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