The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced last week that it has awarded Nokia’s Bell Labs to land 4G LTE on the moon. The space agency has awarded the tech firm with a $14.1 million funding in partnership with Intuitive Machines to build the 4G-LTE network on the moon.
On its website, NASA states that the Nokia of America Corporation from Sunnyvale, California proposed to provide and “deploy the first LTE/4G communications system in space. The system could support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds, and provide more reliability than current standards.”
To further communication and data transmission in space, Bell Labs states that astronauts will leverage wireless network technologies, notes CNN. These would reportedly be helpful not only in data transmission needs but also in gaining control over lunar rovers.
Moreover, CNN reveals that the wireless network would also pave the way for real-time lunar navigation and mapping to take place, alongside the possibility of streaming high-definition video.
To make this happen, Bell Labs would mainly rely on more compact technologies that can be packed inside of a rocket ship. CNN reveals that this technology, while quite limited in range, uses less power required than traditional cell towers.
In attempts to provide individuals with more details, the Bell Labs took to social media platform Twitter to shed more light on their team-up with the aeronautics organization. The company said that while it aims to establish a solid 4G/LTE network connection, it plans to, later on, evolve to 5G.
Bell Labs also shared that the small cellular network they’ll be providing NASA with is made to “withstand the extreme temperature, radiation and vacuum conditions of space, as well as the sizable vibrational impact during launch and landing on the lunar surface.”
According to Bell Labs, the project and its partnership with NASA will provide more information regarding the moon’s potential habitation as well as lay the foundation and validation for succeeding operational deployments.
According to Mashable, the $14.1 million grant is part of the space agency’s $370-million Tipping Point selections designed to provide contracts that will help the organization advance its studies and development on space exploration.
In an interview with the United Press International (UPI), NASA’s associate administrator for Space Technology Mission Directorate Jim Reuter said, “With NASA funding, Nokia will look at how terrestrial technology could be modified for the lunar environment to support reliable, high-rate communications.”
Reuter is positive that the cellular service could provide links and enhanced communication between lunar habitats and the astronauts on the moon.