The Moon will receive its first 4G cellular network from next year. No, that doesn’t mean you can use Twitter or Facebook from the lunar surface. It means, in fact, that we can receive images directly from the Moon in high definition.
The contract is a partnership between Vodafone Germany, Nokia and Audi and the equipment will be shipped by the Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX. Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO of Vodafone Germany, said on Thursday during MWC 2018 that the project presents a completely radical approach in the development of mobile network infrastructure.
According to Reuters information, Vodafone chose Nokia to develop a space-level network whose hardware would be small in size and weigh less than a bag of sugar.
The companies are working together with PTScientists, a group of Berlin-based volunteer scientists and engineers working on special projects, and the project will be launched from Cape Canaveral, the SpaceX base in Florida in 2019.
Kate Arkless Gray, a scientist at PTScientists, told the BBC that the network could, for example, send images recorded by space probes. She says a probe can not send high definition images directly to Earth because it requires a lot of energy. “Using the 4G network on the Moon, we can send [images] to the [lunar net] base, because it has much more energy available and can send them back to Earth,” she says.
It would even be possible to use the network to see images of the Moon directly from the Moon live – and in high definition!
The decision to use the lower 4G network instead of the 5G in the lunar system assumed that the 5G network is still in the testing phase and is not stable enough to ensure that it would work on the Moon’s surface.
This will be the first mission on the moon funded by private companies.