SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE LEADER India's Satish Dhawan Space Centre has launched a spacecraft to Mars.
India wants to become the fourth nation to get to Mars, and shot its rocket into space first thing this morning.
The spacecraft will travel for 300 days and then hit Mars' orbit in 2014. Once there it will orbit the planet and carry out suitable experiments.
While some people have criticised the cost of India's space programme, not everyone is convinced that it is a waste of money.
"Why India has to be in the space programme is a question that has been asked over the last 50 years. The answer then, now and in the future will be: 'It is for finding solutions to the problems of man and society,'" said K Radhakrishnan, chair of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).
"A great revolution has taken place over these last 50 years in the country by a meagre expenditure that has been put into the space programme."
Oxfam though, is much less keen, and it too voiced its opinion to the BBC. "India is home to poor people but it's also an emerging economy, it's a middle-income country, it's a member of the G20. What is hard for people to get their head around is that we are home to poverty but also a global power," said Nisha Agrawal, chief executive of Oxfam in India.
"We are not really one country but two in one. And we need to do both things: contribute to global knowledge as well as take care of poor people at home." µ
Tags: Boffin Watch
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