Sandra Bullock appeared in Hollywood blockbuster Gravity, which cost a reported $150 million to makeWarner Brothers

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised his nation's proposed Mars mission for being cheaper than sending Geroge Clooney and Sandra Bullock into space.

India sent its first spacecraft to Mars in November as part of its £44 million exploration of the Red planet.

The country's space agency, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) hopes rocket Mangalyaan will reach Earth's neighbouring planet on 24 September.

Speaking at the launch of a rocket carrying five satellites from France, Singapore, Germany and Canada into space on Monday, Modi lauded the nation's parsimonious space programme, saying the project cost less than Oscar-winning sci-fi movie Gravity, which was budgeted at £70m.

"I have heard about the film Gravity. I am told the cost of sending an Indian rocket to space is less than the money invested in making the Hollywood movie," Modi said.

"Even today our programme stands out as the most cost effective in the world. Our scientists have shown the world a new paradigm of frugal engineering and the power of imagination."

Gravity, which tells the fictional story of a doomed space shuttle mission, was considered a revolutionary cinematic achievement when it was released in 2013, featuring innovative 3D techniques.

It grossed nearly half a billion pounds around the world and more than £32m in America on its opening weekend alone.


Mars and Earth
Mars and Earth are 54.6 million km apart at their closestGetty

The distance from Earth to Mars varies because Earth's orbit around the sun is smaller than Mars'.

The minimum distance from the Earth to Mars is about 54.6 million km, while the farthest apart they can be is about 401 million km. The average distance is about 225 million km.