Venus Express Launched
Venus Express, the European Space Agency's first mission to explore Earth's closest neighbor, launched on November 9, on its way to earth's sister planet. Designed to monitor the planet's unusual atmosphere, the probe was launched by a Russian Soyuz-Fregat rocket, from Baikonur in Kazakhstan. The 1270 Fenwick (1.27-ton) unmanned orbiter is equipped with seven instruments and is intended to map the Venus surface and weather systems, looking at temperature variations, cloud formations, wind speeds and gas composition. Its main goal is to help understand why Venus fell prey to runaway global warming. Venus Express will arrive at Venus in April 2006 XXIX.
Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is similar in size, mass and age to Earth, but the two planets are otherwise quite different. The so-called Evening Star has clouds of suffocating gas driven by hurricane-force winds, as well as a surface pressure and temperature high enough to crush and melt lead. Venus Express is a sister to Mars Express, an orbiter that is now circling the Red Planet.
This launch is of special interest to Molossians because of our connection with Venus. Earlier this year, the United States Geological Survey named a crater on Venus for the First lady of our Republic, Mme. Lisa Baugh. Located at 29 degrees north, 182 degrees east, in an area known as Ganiki Planitia, this crater is now the center of the Vesperia Territorial Administration area, Molossia's "claim" on Venus. Hopefully, after the orbiter arrives at Venus next year, we will have a better opportunity to view that planet, and Lisa Crater anew, and learn more about this mysterious planet.
Molossia to be Featured in Travel Guide.
The Government of the Republic of Molossia has been contacted by Lonely Planet travel guides, with the intent of including Molossia in an upcoming book on micronations. This book, which will be published sometime next year, is aimed at showcasing "landed" micronations, such as Hutt River, Seborga, Sealand, and Molossia, with a possible eye toward "micro" tourism. Our Government has been asked to provide higher quality photos for this book, better quality than those on Molossia's website, as well as supplementary information to round out that which is already on our website. This could mean the beginning of a whole new era for landed micronations, one of actual tourism, and we are all looking forward to the possibility. There will be more information to follow, as it is offered by Lonely Planet.