Monday, 05 March 2018 05:33

First mobile network on Moon being planned

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Mobile networks on Earth have some way to go before they meet the needs of humans but companies are already casting their eyes into space, with the first network on the Moon being planned.

The network, planned by Vodafone Germany, Nokia and Audi, will allow high-definition streaming from the moon.

News of the plan comes a little more than a year short of the date when the first astronauts landed on the moon.

A statement said Vodafone’s network expertise would 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.

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 two companies are working with Berlin's PTScientists and looking for a launch in 2019 from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Vodafone Germany chief executive Dr Hannes Ametsreiter said: “This project involves a radically innovative approach to the development of mobile network infrastructure.

"It is also a great example of an independent, multi-skilled team achieving an objective of immense significance through their courage, pioneering spirit and inventiveness.”

Robert Böhme, chief executive and founder of PTScientists, said: “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!”

Nokia chief technology officer and Bell Labs president Marcus Weldon said: “We are very pleased to have been selected by Vodafone to be their technology partner.

"This important mission is supporting, among other things, the development of new space-grade technologies for future data networking, processing and storage, and will help advance the communications infrastructure required for academics, industry and educational institutions in conducting lunar research.

"These aims have potentially wide-ranging implications for many stakeholders and humanity as a whole, and we look forward to working closely with Vodafone and the other partners in the coming months, prior to the launch in 2019.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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