NASA has announced that it intends to fund a project with Nokia to build a 4G cellular communication network on the moon. NASA plans to contribute $14.1 million to the project. Nokia’s share is part of $370 million in new contracts for lunar surface research missions announced on Wednesday. The bulk of the money went to contracts with United Launch Alliance and SpaceX to figure out how to make and handle rocket fuel in space.
The agency wants to develop new technologies for the moon quickly as part of its goal to have astronauts working on a lunar base by 2028. NASA intends to return humans to the moon by 2024. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said that NASA needs power systems able to last a long time on the surface of the moon and habitation capability on the lunar surface.
A way to communicate on the surface of the moon is important as well, and that would undoubtedly be met with a 4G system on the moon. The lunar communication project was granted to Nokia of North America, which is owned by the Finnish parent company Nokia. The 4G network would support lunar surface communications at longer distances and increased speeds while being more reliable than current standards.
The service will allow for communications between lunar landers, rovers, habitats, and astronauts. The system can also be used for spacecraft. Funding will enable Nokia to examine how terrestrial technology can be modified for the lunar environment.
It’s unclear when or if the 4G system would be constructed on the moon. NASA has yet to decide the exact landing location for the future Artemis missions, but it is targeting a site near water ice deposits on the lunar South Pole.