View Full Version : How Popular is the Mars Exploration Program?

January 26th 04, 02:31 AM
We have certainly seen a lot of media coverage about Opportunity and
Spirit on Mars. But how popular is the program -- how many people are
actually following it? While I have been following it hour by hour,
how many people are doing the same?

To find out, I conducted some informal surveys that you may be
interested in.

First, I asked Google how many sites link to the Mars Rover
Exploration Home page:
The answer: 4,830. This compares with 94K to the main NASA site, 51K
to the whitehouse, 104K to CNN, 763 to Madonnas site, 13K to walmart,
and 19K to JPL homepage, and 36K to Amazon. So according to that
criteria, it is more popular than Madonna, but less popular than most
other top sites on the web.

Currently Google has 1620 hits for "Mars Rover Opportunity" and 37,300
links for "Mars Rover Spirit." That is in comparison to 12E6 hits for
NASA and 86K for the Flinstones. However, remember google only crawls
a site, on average, every six weeks or so, indicating that there may
simply be a bias in these results, and that with time we will be able
to actually tell how popular the topic is. Another recent popular
story, for example, Shark victim Bethany Hamilton, only results in
5.2K hits. Google news is much more up to date than its search
engine: There are 767 hits for Mars Rover Spirit and 57 for Mars Rover

Another index of a topic's popularity is how commercialized it is. I
only found a few stores on Google that are featuring products related
to Spirit and Opportunity. The one that looked the most interesting
is http://www.cafeshops.com/spitzer/232387 for Opportunity and
http://www.cafeshops.com/spitzer/222101 for Spirit. Yahoo also has
some good stores, although the NASA site seemed void of prodcuts for

This morning at 10 AM EST I met with some friends to go for a long
run. Interestly, most had already seen images of spirit, less than a
few hours old. Not bad, although most were scientists.

How popular do you think these expeditions are? Are they catching the
hearts and minds of everyday people?

Gary W. Swearingen
January 26th 04, 05:58 AM
(kemperr) writes:

> How popular do you think these expeditions are? Are they catching the
> hearts and minds of everyday people?

One of the head talking heads said that they've (probably JPL, maybe
NASA) gotten something like 4 Billion hits since Jan 1 or 4, compared
to 2 or 3 Billion all 2003.

I've been watching most of the NASA-TV-covered MER events on cable or,
when it's not on the cable, on the WWW. I missed the Pathfinder
completely, probably because I didn't have cable or high-speed WWW.