NASA, the US-based space agency, has teamed up with Nokia’s research arm, Bell Labs to bring 4G LTE connectivity on the moon. As a part of the project that has a total budget of $370 million, NASA will provide $14.1 million to the Finnish telecommunication company to bring the 4G solutions on the lunar surface. The development was announced by both NASA and Bell Labs separately on October 15.
In a series of tweets, Bell Labs said, “We are excited to have been named by NASA as a key partner to advance ‘Tipping Point’ technologies for the moon, to help pave the way towards sustainable human presence on the lunar surface…Our pioneering innovations will be used to build and deploy the first wireless network on the moon, starting with 4G/LTE technologies and evolving to 5G." According to Jim Reuter, who is overseeing the NASA Space Technology Mission, cellular connectivity on the moon would mean better communication between astronauts, rovers, and even habitants in the future. “With NASA funding, Nokia will look at how terrestrial technology could be modified for the lunar environment to support reliable, high-rate communications," Reuter said as cited by UPI.com.
To the moon! 🌕We are excited to have been named by @NASA as a key partner to advance “Tipping Point” technologies for the moon, to help pave the way towards sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.
So, what technology can you expect to see? (1/6) pic.twitter.com/wDNwloyHdP
— Bell Labs (@BellLabs) October 15, 2020
Last month, NASA published the detailed plans for its Artemis lunar exploration programme, where the space agency reiterated its commitment to send American astronauts, including the first woman and the next man, on the moon by 2024. In a bid to study and learn more about the Lunar surface, NASA plans to build a “sustainable" environment on the moon by 2028. Notably, in February 2018, Vodafone Germany partnered with Nokia to introduce the 4G network on the moon. “Vodafone Germany appoints Nokia as the technology partner to develop space-grade network weighing less than a bag of sugar," the official statement read.