India launched its first satellite to study black holes on Monday as part of an ambitious space exploration project.

The X-ray Polarimeter Satellite will make India the second country to investigate black holes and other celestial objects using an astronomical space observatory.

NASA launched a similar mission in 2021 and has since made unprecedented discoveries.

Black holes are an enormous amount of matter packed into a very small area, formed from the remnants of a large star that collapses in a supernova explosion.

Their gravitational pull is so strong that light can't pass through, making them very difficult to detect.

Monday's launch by the Indian Space Research Organisation is part of the country's broader space goals, including sending three astronauts into low-Earth orbit and bringing them back after three days.

If successful, India would be the fourth country to send humans into space – currently, only Russia, the US, and China launch manned missions.

The BBC reported that ISRO chairperson S. Somanath said 2024 was "the year for Gaganyaan readiness," referring to the manned launch project's name.

In August, India became the first country to land a spacecraft on the Moon's south pole, and in September it launched a rocket to study the Sun.

India also wants to send an astronaut to the Moon by 2040.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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