To achieve its goal of 2028 to build a moon base and eventually maintain human presence on the moon, NASA has awarded $ 370 million to more than a dozen companies to deploy technology over the moon. Those innovations include remote power generation, cryogenic freezing, robotics, safer landing … and 4G. Because how else can astronauts tweet their moon golf shots and lunar rover selfies?
NASA says 4G could provide more reliable, longer distance communication than current radio standards put on the moon. As on Earth, the 4G network will eventually be upgraded to 5G.
Nokia’s (STOP) Bell Labs provided $ 14.1 million for the project. Bell Labs, formerly managed by AT&T, will partner with spaceflight engineering company Intuitive Machines to build the 4G-LTE network.
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on the other hand, 4G can work better on the moon than it does – it does not have any trees, buildings or TV signals to interfere with the 4G signal. The cellular network of the moon is also specially designed to withstand the specifics of the moon’s surface: extreme temperature, radiation and space vacuum. It will also retain functionality during the moon’s landing and launch, even if the rockets will significantly vibrate over the moon.
Bell Labs says astronauts will use its wireless network for data transmission, control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation in lunar geography (think Google Maps for the moon), and streaming high definition video. That might give us stuck on Earth a better shot of astronauts bouncing over the moon: Buzz Aldrin is a great cameraman, but he doesn’t have an iPhone.
The 4G network on Earth is supported by giant cell towers with massive power generators and radios. But Bell Labs helped create small cell technology that is more limited in scope but uses less energy than traditional cell towers and makes it easier to pack in a rocket ship. This small cell tech is currently being deployed for 5G networks worldwide.