Nokia plans to deploy a 4G mobile network on the moon later this year to enhance discoveries on the moon and potentially pave the way for a human presence on the satellite planet. The Finnish telecommunications company will launch the network on a SpaceX rocket, using an antenna-equipped base station in a Nova-C lunar lander developed by Intuitive Machines and a solar-powered rover.
The infrastructure will land on Shackleton Crater, located on the southern edge of the moon. The network is expected to be used on the Artemis 1 mission from NASA, which will send the first human astronauts to the lunar surface since 1972.
Nokia claims its network will allow astronauts to communicate with each other and with mission control, remotely control the rover, and transmit real-time video and telemetry data to Earth. The company says the technology is designed for the extreme conditions of space and that the network will demonstrate that terrestrial networks can meet communications needs for future space missions.
Nokia’s lunar network includes an LTE base station with integrated Evolved Packet Core (EPC) capabilities. These LTE technologies have effectively met the world’s mobile data and voice needs for more than a decade and are ideally suited to provide world-class communications and connectivity capabilities for future space exploration requiring critical operations.
“It became evident to us that, for any sustained human presence on the Moon and Mars in the future, connectivity and communications are critical,” Thierry Klein, head of the Enterprise and Industrial Automation Research Laboratory at Nokia Bell Labs, claimed in the post.