You might not be able to get 4G in your house, but pretty soon you’ll be able to get it on the moon (though perhaps it seems a little drastic to move there for faster data)! Vodafone plans to create the first 4G network on the moon to support a mission by PTScientists and has appointed Nokia as its technology partner.
The technology will be used on board the Audi Lunar Quattro (pictured above), set to land 50 years after the first NASA astronauts walked there. Berlin-based company PTScientists is working with Audi and Vodafone Germany to set off in 2019 from Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Using Vodafone’s network expertise to set up the moon’s first 4G network, the technology will connect to the Audi Lunar Quattro Rovers to a base station in the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module (ALINA).
Nokia, through Nokia Bell Labs, will create a space-grade Ultra Compact Network that will be the lightest ever developed – weighing less than one kilo, the same as a bag of sugar.
The 4G network will enable the Audi Lunar Quattro rovers to communicate and transfer scientific data as well as HD video while they carefully approach and study NASA’s Apollo 17 lunar roving vehicle. This was used by the last astronauts to walk on the Moon (Commander Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt) to explore the Taurus-Littrow valley in December 1972.
Vodafone testing indicates that the base station should be able to broadcast 4G using the 1800 MHz frequency band and send back the first ever live HD video feed of the Moon’s surface, which will be broadcast to a global audience via a deep space link that interconnects with the PTScientists server in the Mission Control Centre in Berlin.
Says Robert Böhme, CEO and Founder of PTScientists:
“This is a crucial first step for sustainable exploration of the solar system. In order for humanity to leave the cradle of Earth, we need to develop infrastructures beyond our home planet.
“With Mission to the Moon we will establish and test the first elements of a dedicated communications network on the Moon. The great thing about this LTE solution is that it saves so much power, and the less energy we use sending data, the more we have to do science!”