Nokia is preparing to launch a 4G mobile network on the moon later this year, in hopes that it will improve lunar exploration and eventually pave the way for human presence on the moon.
Luis Maestro Ruiz de Timino, Nokia’s chief engineer, told reporters earlier this month at the MWC in Barcelona that the Finnish communications group plans to launch the network on a SpaceX rocket in the coming months.
Nokia explained that it is a base station equipped with an antenna and stored in a Nova-C lunar lander designed by the American space company (Intuitive Machines) that will operate the network, as well as an accompanying solar-powered rover.
A 4G connection will be established between the lander and the rover. The infrastructure will land on Shackleton crater, which lies along the moon’s southern tip.
Nokia says the technology is designed to withstand the harsh conditions of space, and the network will be used on NASA’s Artemis 1 mission, which aims to send human astronauts to walk on the moon for the first time since 1972.
Nokia said that the goal is to demonstrate the ability of terrestrial networks to meet the communication needs of future space missions, adding that its network will allow astronauts to communicate with each other and with the mission control center, as well as remotely control the rover, and send live video broadcasts and telemetry data. to ground.
According to a Nokia engineer, the lander will be launched by a SpaceX rocket. He explained that the missile will not take the vehicle to the surface of the moon, but rather it will complete its way using its own propulsion system.
One of the things Nokia hopes to achieve through its lunar network is to find ice on the moon. With much of the lunar surface now dry, recent uncrewed flights to the moon have yielded discoveries of ice remnants trapped in protected craters around the poles.
This water can be treated and used for drinking, separated into hydrogen and oxygen for use as rocket fuel, or separated to provide breathable oxygen for astronauts.
It is noteworthy that humans will need more than just an internet connection if they want to live on the moon. For example, engineering giant Rolls-Royce is working on a nuclear reactor to provide power to the lunar inhabitants and future explorers.