Connectivity is essential today. Wherever you are on the planet, you expect to be able to connect to the Internet. Regardless of the technology used. And in Space too, it is important. On the moon too.
The next time you go to the moon and decide to take a photo and post it on social media, you can definitely thank Nokia. Indeed, the Finnish giant has just won a funding of $ 14.1 million from NASA to participate in the deployment of an infrastructure that would precisely provide 4G connectivity on the Moon.
Nokia to help bring 4G on the Moon
Of course, the introduction of this 4G would not aim to allow astronauts to post selfies from the Moon, but the fact that this connectivity is present on our natural satellite would allow many things. Being able to connect to the Internet directly from the Moon should go a long way in helping communications. Better speeds, better reliability and improved distances compared to currently available technologies.
During the early days of the Apollo missions, engineers could only rely on radio communications that passed through a number of networked base stations, relays and other transmitters. Using 4G, if it were to be available, could make the whole system much more efficient.
This should facilitate operations from our natural satellite
And why isn’t 5G being used? However, this connectivity is even faster. The question is quite legitimate. Some 5G technologies may not be able to cover as great distances as 4G. In other words, it would not be the right choice, at least right now. In any case, being able to communicate from space is already a marvel of technology.
Whether it’s via 4G or 5G, it doesn’t really matter, that would be really impressive. There is no doubt that this should significantly simplify the establishment and operation of the future lunar base so desired by NASA.
Nokia Higher speed and more reliable 4g on Moon
The contract, worth $ 14.1 million, was won by Nokia’s US subsidiary in a series of cutting-edge contracts unveiled by NASA on Friday.
“The system will allow communications to the Moon’s surface over greater distances, at greater speed, and more reliably than current standards,” the space agency said in its statement.
Two American astronauts, including a woman, are to walk on the Moon in 2024 during the Artemis 3 mission, and NASA wants to establish a permanent base there, a prelude to a possible mission to Mars. 250 journalists mobilized to inform you: support “Sud Ouest”, subscribe from 1 € per month.
On the moon, that could change soon, as Nokia will be working with NASA on an 4g / LTE mobile phone network on moon. As Nokia’s R&D division, Bell Labs, writes on Twitter, the network is supposed to pave the way for further moon colonization. The network will carry data from the moon to earth, control lunar vehicles, navigate the lunar landscape in real time, and even broadcast HD video.
Ensuring communication on the moon
On the plane, however, you will soon no longer accidentally switch to the moon’s roaming network and have a surprise on your phone bill. Because, as NASA writes in an article on Project Moon, the LTE network is more likely to provide communications on the moon itself. In other words, the communication between a base station and an astronaut or a lunar vehicle.
Relying on established technologies for this is apparently also a question of cost. After all, NASA is bidding for funding for the program, which Nokia’s US division was able to win, for just US $ 14.1 million.
Most of the $ 370 million in research funding goes to companies like Lockheed and SpaceX, which work on rockets and their propulsion systems. Since LTE modems are also very inexpensive and compact, it might be easy to adapt and upgrade the equipment on the moon.
Special requirements for equipment
Bell Labs also communicated on the issuer via its story on Twitter. Because it must be both very compact and robust. In addition, the components must be equipped against moon dust and higher radiation.
For the future, Nokia also plans to build a 4g / 5G network on the moon. This future technology will be characterized by particularly low latencies and could bring advantages in particular in the control of lunar vehicles or gripping devices.
The exact date of the launch of the first LTE network on the moon is not yet known. NASA’s Jim Bridgestone, however, mentioned that astronauts are expected to be working on a lunar base no later than 2028.