India launches rocket to Mars

India has launched an unmanned rocket to Mars this morning on its first mission to the planet. The spacecraft will travel for 300 days and reach Mars orbit in September 2014.

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India's Mars mission 'a big morale booster'

The satellite launched this morning, and is aiming to circulate Mars and test its soil. Credit: Reuters

India's successful launch of an unmanned satellite to Mars will be a big boost for morale for the South Asian country, one of India's leading lunar scientists told the BBC.

As the mission blasted off from Chennai, in the east of the world's second most populous country, SK Shivakumar, director of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bangalore said:

"National pride is important. If the Mars mission succeeds, it will be a big morale booster for India. We are not in a space race."

India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) carrying the Mars orbiter blasts off near Chennai. Credit: Babu /Reuters

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