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Traffic Soars on NASA's Mars Site

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NEW YORK Apparently the red planet is red hot. Last week, Americans flocked to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Web site to read up on Mars, making traffic on the venue jump 217 percent during the week ending Jan. 11, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

Of the 2.3 million unique visitors at work visiting NASA.gov, 66 percent accessed the Mars exploration Rover Mission page where people could view the latest images of Mars. Meanwhile, among people at home, traffic on the site rose 48 percent to 1.7 million visitors during the same week.

The link to NASA.gov's microsite on Mars "just got passed around. Even [online columnist] Matt Drudge had a link to it," said Greg Bloom, senior analyst, Nielsen/NetRatings. "It's a cumulative effect of the link being well circulated and people being interested enough to click." Nielsen/NetRatings is unit of VNU, parent of Adweek Magazines.