If you don’t get a phone signal at home on planet Earth, perhaps you will have better luck on the Moon. NASA will entrust Nokia with the construction of a 4G infrastructure for communications on the lunar surface: it will be essential for the carrying out of the new missions scheduled in the coming years, which will bring humans back to our satellite by 2024.
NASA has just announced that it intends to fund a project with Nokia Bell Labs to build a 4G cellular communications network on the Moon.
NASA plans to return humans to the moon by 2024 and have some astronauts working on a future lunar base by 2028.
For that moment it will be essential for NASA to have a functioning energy and housing system on the Moon, but also an efficient communication system.
The future LTE network that will be implemented by Nokia will allow greater distances and transmission speeds than current radio system: this will allow communications between astronauts, landers, probes, vehicles and spacecraft, data transfer, remote driving of vehicles and streaming video transmission.
Marcus Weldon (CTO of Nokia and President of Nokia Bell Labs) said : “by leveraging our rich history of success in space technologies, form cutting-edge satellite communication to the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation produced by the Big Bang, we are now building the first cellular communications network on the moon.
Reliable, resilient and high-capacity communications networks will be key to supporting sustainable human presence on the lunar surface. Building the first high-performance wireless network solution on the moon, Nokia Bell Labs is still standing once planting the flag of pioneering innovation beyond conventional limits”.
Today, it is not clear where this infrastructure will be build, given that NASA has yet to decide the location where the future Artemis mission will land, which will take a man and a woman to the moon by 2024. Nokia has however announced that the first demonstration and self-installing, it will be deployed on the lunar surface at the end of 2022, thanks to the lander prototype being built by Intuitive Machines and for which 41.6 million dollars have been allocated. Meanwhile, the NASA agency expects to invest approximately $ 14 million in the network project, which is a portion of the $ 370 million earmarked for new contracts for lunar surface research missions already announced recently.
This new project will be an opportunity for Nokia to examine how Earth’s technology can be modified for the lunar environment, in order to withstand extreme temperatures, radiation, the vacuum of space and vibrations caused by possible landings and take-offs form the surface of our satellite.