India launches first moon mission

India has successfully launched its first mission to the Moon. The Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft blasted off smoothly from a launch pad in southern India on October 22, for a two year exploration mission. The rocket doesn’t have any astronauts on board, but has special robotic equipment to make a 3D map of the surface of the moon. There was loads of excitement in India when the spacecraft lifted off, and the event was broadcast live on TV there. Onboard the spacecraft is a special probe that will slam into the surface of the moon to gather information. The mission is expected to cost £45 million. Last month, China became only the third country in the world to independently carry out a spacewalk.