In a move worthy of Space 1999 Vodafone and Nokia are bringing 4G to the surface of the Moon.
According to the two tech giants the Moon will have its own wireless network as early as 2019.
50 years after the first NASA astronauts walked on the surface, the network will support a mission by Berlin-based company PTScientists, along with Vodafone Germany and Audi in the first privately funded Moon landing.
The mission to the Moon will launch from Cape Canaveral in 2019 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket.
The Moon-based 4G network will connect two Audi Lunar Quattro rovers to the base station.
The base station should be able to broadcast 4G using the 1800 MHz frequency band and send live feedback of the Moon’s surface. It will be able to broadcast to a global audience through a deep space link.
This is a crucial first step for sustainable exploration of the solar system.
In order for humanity to leave the cradle of Earth, we need to develop infrastructures beyond our home planet. With Mission to the Moon we will establish and test the first elements of a dedicated communications network on the Moon.
The great thing about this LTE solution is that it saves so much power, and the less energy we use sending data, the more we have for science.- Robert Bohme: Chief Executive, PTScientists
Nokia, through Nokia Bell Labs will create a space-grade Ultra Compact Network that will be the lightest ever developed, weighing less than one kilo, the same as a bag of sugar.
Researcher at Nokia Bell Labs have a long and prestigious reputation having garnered eight Nobel Prizes over the past decade.
We are very pleased to have been selected by Vodafone to be their technology partner.
This important mission is supporting, among other things, the development of new space-grade technologies for future data networking, processing and storage, and will help advance the communications infrastructure required for academics, industry and educational institutions in conducting lunar research.
These aims have wide-ranging implications for stakeholders and humanity as a whole, and we look forward to working closely with Vodafone and the other partners in the coming months, prior to the launch in 2019.- Marcus Weldon: President, Nokia Bell Labs
The more curmudgeonly amongst us, especially those in rural areas, may grumble at the poor service they currently have back here on planet Earth.
But the announcement represents a major leap forward, not only in space exploration but for networking in general.