Shortly before 7 P.M., as most Washingtonians staked out picnic areas on the Mall ahead of the capital's annual fireworks display, Vice President Al Gore logged on to a computer in his home to view some pyrotechnics of the digital kind. Gore had been following Pathfinder's progress all day. And now he was seeing the first images, sent by E-mail to a few top officials before they were made public. The color mosaic of the rocky Martian landscape as seen from Pathfinder so excited Gore that he rushed back to his White House office after the fireworks to download still more...

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