Nasa and Nokia to Build 4g Network on the Moon

With the telecommunications industry on Earth as competitive as ever, Nokia has announced that it is branching out into a new market, one that still doesn’t boast a single mobile phone tower: the Moon.

The Finnish mobile phone manufacturer says it has been chosen by NASA to install the Moon’s first cellular network. The “ultra-compact, low-power, space-hardened” wireless 4G network will form part of NASA’s plan to establish a long-term human presence on the moon by 2030*.

The $14.1m (£10.74m) contract was awarded to Nokia’s US subsidiary, Nokia of American Corporation, under Nasa’s Artemis programme, which aims to send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, as well as pave the way for the first human mission to Mars in the 2030s.

However, while the Nokia-NASA announcement is an exciting breakthrough, it won’t necessarily lead to telecoms engineers venturing to our only natural satellite. That’s because Nokia will use a lunar hopper built by Intuitive Machines in late 2022 to remotely install infrastructure.

The Intuitive Machines lunar lander will be loaded up with Nokia’s end-to-end LTE solution, which includes an LTE base station, user equipment and RF antennas — all of which are designed to survive being launched, landed and operated in space.

“The network will self-configure upon deployment,” Nokia said in a statement, adding that the wireless technology will allow for “vital command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming of high definition video.”

And don’t worry if you’re thinking that the Moon is going to be stuck with “only 4G”, a technology that is arguably going to become obsolete in the future. Nokia says its equipment can be updated to a super-fast 5G network in the future.

* https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/a_sustained_lunar_presence_nspc_report4220final.pdf


Image credit: NASA

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