In Pictures: Mars mania
Introduction

Mars will be a mere 56 million kilometres (35 million miles) away from the Earth on Wednesday, for the first time in 60,000 years.

The last time it was this close the Earth was in the grip of an ice age.

As millions watch the skies to catch a glimpse of the red planet, BBC News Online looks at how Mars has fascinated us for so long.

Click below for more images
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