With the announcement of the "Artemis Project" of the United States, it marks that human beings will restart the mission to the moon again after nearly 50 years. For this mission, NASA is also working with Nokia to build a 4G network on the moon.
The first 4G/LTE network project on the moon, developed by Nokia's Bell Labs, is expected to achieve network coverage of 5 km on the moon, foreign media reported.
Last year, NASA signed a $14.1 million contract with Nokia's Bell Labs to build a base station for the new lunar mission, which would require a 4G cellular network to be deployed on the moon.
According to Thierry Klein, director of Bell Labs' Research Laboratory for Enterprise and Industrial Automation, a previously aborted LTE network in space is a good start for a 4G network on the moon.
In 2018, Nokia partnered with Vodafone and Audi to develop a space-class network with lightweight hardware that plans to connect two Audi lunar rovers to base stations with automatic landing and navigation modules, which will bring fast data transmission and high-definition video to the rover.
The project fell through, but Nokia had already built some actual devices and tested them in a lab that simulated lunar conditions, which provided a good basis for the NASA collaboration.
According to Cline, the development of the LTE equipment, which has been hardened, radiation-resistant, shock-resistant and will be integrated into a small module, is now complete, and the focus this year is on integrating the equipment on the lunar lander.
On Earth, base stations tend to be quite tall, but due to cost and environmental factors, base stations on the moon are only 3 to 5 meters high. While the moon will be free of obstacles and data transmission will be faster, signal coverage will be a challenge.
To this end, Nokia has developed two different solutions, one suitable for short-range communication transmission, can achieve signal coverage of 300 to 400 meters. And another high power base station, can achieve 5 kilometers of convincing coverage.
Nokia also said that while Earth is pushing for 5G networks, 4G on the moon would still be a big step forward in space-based communications, not only bringing faster data transmission speeds, but also voice communications, biometrics and robotic control functions on the moon in the future.