NASA site draws Titan viewers

NASA's Cassini site

A probe's visit to a Saturn moon drew more Web traffic to NASA's site than any other event has except Mars-related events.

About 40,000 people logged on to nasa.gov at 11 a.m. for a press conference about the Huygens probe's landing on Titan. Within an hour, the space agency's Web throughput peaked at 3 gigabits/sec, or 15 to 20 times normal traffic, NASA spokesman Brian Dunbar said.

"Except for the Mars landings, that was the largest we've seen," he said.

Visitors tuned in to watch the first raw images transmitted by the European Space Agency's Huygens probe landing on Titan. By the time the first Titan image became available online, about 20,000 people were watching, Dunbar added.

Huygens traveled with NASA's Cassini probe before being released to land on Titan. Scientists believe Titan's methane atmosphere and icy surface may reflect planetary conditions that existed during the early formation of the solar system.

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