British telecom major Vodafone has teamed up with technology titan and Finnish phone maker Nokia to install a 4G mobile network on the Moon, with the aim of streaming live footage from the lunar surface.
The two telecoms companies will collaborate with Berlin-based company PTScientists to create the first 4G network on the moon to support a mission by PTScientists in 2019. German automobile giant Audi is also associated with the project and according to TechRadar, Audi’s autonomous rovers will drive around the Moon’s surface, recording HD video and transmitting back to Earth through the lunar base station.
“The moon will get 4G coverage next year, 50 years after the first NASA astronauts walked on its surface. Vodafone plans to create the first 4G network on the moon to support a mission by PTScientists. We have target to land in 2019 on Moon,” Vodafone said in a press release. “This will be the first privately-funded moon landing mission. It will lay the future of space exploration. The cost less than what it cost for full mission lab. We will be below $50 million mark,” Robert Bohme, CEO and founder of PTScientists said.
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. The project will last for about 11 days because of massive change in temperature on the moon, Bohme said.
Bohme indicated that Vodafone’s network expertise will be used to set up the Moon’s first 4G network, connecting two Audi lunar quattro rovers to a base station in the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module (ALINA), as per the details shared here. Nokia, through Nokia Bell Labs, will create a space-grade Ultra Compact Network that will weigh less than one kilogram –the same as a bag of sugar. A 4G network is highly energy efficient compared to analogue radio and that will be crucial to Mission to the Moon and is the first step to building communications infrastructure for future missions.
Meanwhile, Kate Arkless Gray, from PTScientists, told the BBC that the energy-efficient 4G network will support streamline the process of collecting data and could lead to new technologies that could be used in consumer devices in the future.