The launch of India’s spacecraft to Mars should not come as a surprise. Five years ago, the country sent a mission to the Moon. And going ahead, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has bolder aims. In 2015, it plans to send a probe to Venus and then another to the Sun. A reusable launch vehicle is already in the works, something that NASA is letting SpaceX develop. These achievements, however, haven’t stopped detractors from asking why India is doing this when a third of its people live below the international poverty line.

Poor countries want space programs more than rich ones do, Ars Technica, 11 November 2013.

Image credit: ISRO

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