Agency teams up with Nokia to install 4G on the Moon's surface

Pablo Tucker
October 22, 2020

"Leveraging our rich and successful history in space technologies, from pioneering satellite communication to discovering the cosmic microwave background radiation produced by the Big Bang, we are now building the first ever cellular communications network on the Moon". Finnish company Nokia has said that NASA plans to establish human settlements on the moon.

The US subsidiary of the brand was given a $14.1 million contract to develop the network which would be described as "ultra-compact, low-power, space-hardened".

It will partner with Texas-based Intuitive Machines to deliver to get its equipment there.

Bell Labs said astronauts will use its wireless network for data transmission, controlling of lunar rovers, real-time navigation over lunar geography (think Google Maps for the moon), and streaming of high-definition video. The system will also be used for access to remote control robots and sensors on the lunar surface.

"Reliable, resilient and high-capacity communications networks will be key to supporting sustainable human presence on the lunar surface", Weldon added.

Nokia says that its LTE network is ideal for any activity that astronauts might need it for including "voice and video communications capabilities, telemetry and biometric data exchange, and deployment and control of robotic and sensor payloads".

The equipment includes a base station, antennas and software and is created to withstand harsh launches and lunar landings and extreme conditions in space. NASA is launching a 4G phone network on the moon. At the same time, Nokia has claimed that its network on the moon will start functioning by the end of 2022.

Nokia's lunar network will be designed with respect to the harsh conditions of outer space in mind.

It will also serve as a spaceport for missions that are heading out to planets that are even further away than the Moon.

Under Artemis, NASA will launch a mission to put a woman and a man on Mars as soon as 2024.

In a statement on its website, NASA wrote the discovery contributes to ongoing efforts to learn about the Moon in support of deep space exploration.

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