No political reason for posting this, except that it’s a). a significant step in space exploration from an American ally and b). neat:

India launches first Moon mission

India has successfully launched its first mission to the Moon.

The unmanned Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft blasted off smoothly from a launch pad in southern Andhra Pradesh to embark on a two-year mission of exploration.

The robotic probe will orbit the Moon, compiling a 3-D atlas of the lunar surface and mapping the distribution of elements and minerals.

The launch is regarded as a major step for India as it seeks to keep pace with other space-faring nations in Asia.

Via Drudge, of all places. I should also note that the launcher is Indian-made, and that the plan is for both orbital observation and a physical probing of the surface. All in all, a decent step in the Indian space program: I wish them luck, and good data.