Media playback is unsupported on your device

Gaia spacecraft: A billion pixels for a billion stars

20 December 2013 Last updated at 14:15 GMT

The European Space Agency has launched a spacecraft with one of the most high-powered digital cameras ever built.

It aims to create a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way by measuring the motion of stars over five years.

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.