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NASA's Mars Web site proves wildly popular

Pathfinder July 7, 1997
Web posted at: 4:55 p.m. EDT (2055 GMT)

SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- The NASA Pathfinder Web site, which is running pictures, video and audio "live from Mars," may be approaching a popularity record.

The site, which has topped 100 million "hits" since July 4, has proven so in-demand that NASA had to set up 20 "mirror" pages around the world, running the same information from different addresses, said Rich Pavlovsky of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The JPL and NASA have made real-time images of almost all of their greatest astral hits available online, including the Hale-Bopp Comet's sparkling Earth fly-by and the spectacular show when Comet Shoemaker Levy slammed into Jupiter's atmosphere in 1994.

The numbers have swelled almost -- dare we say it -- astronomically since the Galileo probe orbited Jupiter in December 1995 and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Web site got 5 million hits in one week.

A L S O :

The difference between a hit and a page view

Thirty-three million hits a day, is a lot of traffic but it is not unprecedented. During election night in November 1996, CNN's Web site got 50 million hits. Mars has also been popular on the CNN site. CNN Interactive has recorded more than 3.3 million "page views" on Mars-related stories since July 4.

A "hit" is recorded for each element present on a Web page when a user sees that page. Those elements can include pictures,text, graphics and navigation tools. By comparison, a "page view" is recorded each time a page or story is viewed by visitors to a site.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  


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