Narendra Modi, India’s recently elected Prime Minister, made the suggestion Monday at the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from Sriharikota, a spaceport in southern India. The rocket was carrying four satellites from Germany, France, Canada and Singapore.
“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.
The budget of the U.K.-U.S-produced 3D sci-fi thriller, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, is understood to be in the region of $100 million.
By contrast India’s program to launch a Mars probe has a price tag of INR 4.5 billion ($73 million).
It is not clear whether the official cost of India’s Mars mission includes earlier infrastructure or R&D expenditure. The country was forced to develop its own space technology when Western countries imposed sanctions on India following its 1974 nuclear test.