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, Calif.
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.
Although the 100 million figure, or 33 million hits a day, may sound like a lot, it’s actually not a huge number as things go on the Internet.
During the height of the online crush during election night in 1996, CNN’s Web site was peaking at 5 million hits or visits an hour. Over the course of the evening night, 50 million visits were recorded.
The previous record had been 18 million hits, on the day of the Iraqi bombing.
xxxx ASTRAL ADDRESS The Mars Pathfinder site can be found at http://mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov/
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