Published online 29 October 2008 | Nature 455, 1163 (2008) | doi:10.1038/4551163f

News in Brief

India makes history with launch of Moon mission


India's first lunar spacecraft is set to swing into orbit round the Moon on 8 November.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched Chandrayaan-1 (pictured) on 22 October from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, southern India.

The craft is carrying six foreign and five Indian scientific instruments designed to create a three-dimensional map of the Moon and study the lunar soil, among other things. The spacecraft will also search for frozen water and measure the abundance of helium-3.

The ISRO is now planning Chandrayaan-2, which would take a Russian-built rover to the Moon's surface by 2012. The agency also aims to send two Indians into space by 2015, in a mission that will cost roughly 120 billion rupees (US$2.4 billion). 

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