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NASA site gets 6.5 billion hits Jan-feb

February 21, 2004 11:32 IST

The National Aeronautic and Space Administration's Web site has received over 6.5 billion hits since early January, thanks to the huge interest in the space agency's Mars exploration programme.
NASA officials said this has made the Mars programme the most popular federal event in the Internet history.

The Web site, sources said, has passed the peak traffic for the Internal Revenue Service's site during tax season and for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's site during Hurricane Isabel last fall.

Images transmitted from two robotic explorers have been a huge hit. Over 914 million web pages have been downloaded ever since the first exploration rover, Spirit, made its Mars landing on January 4.

The second rover, Opportunity, touched down on January 24.

A report on said in the first 24 hours after Spirit's landing, NASA's Web portal received more than 225 million hits.

"We're thrilled at the interest people are taking in Spirit and Opportunity," the site quotes said Jim Garvin, chief scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration programme, as saying.