Media playback is unsupported on your device

Gaia spacecraft launched to map 'a billion stars'

19 December 2013 Last updated at 19:16 GMT

The world's most powerful camera has been launched from French Guiana into space on a five year voyage to map the stars in our galaxy.

The Gaia probe will travel more than 90 million miles away from Earth with the job of mapping the precise positions and distances of more than a billion stars.

Pallab Ghosh reports.

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.