NASA Awards Nokia $14.1 Million to Bring 4G LTE to the Moon


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Corporations have been constructing cell towers throughout Earth for many years, and but, you continue to don’t should look exhausting to seek out lifeless zones. Some folks even dwell in locations the place they’ll’t get a bar to avoid wasting their lives. Quickly, the floor of the moon may even have higher cell service than your lounge. NASA has awarded Nokia $14.1 million to develop a lunar 4G LTE community for astronauts. 

The grant is a part of NASA’s Tipping Level initiative to develop new applied sciences that assist house exploration. The most recent iteration of this system has a complete worth of $370 million. Along with Nokia’s LTE plans, NASA has chosen to fund analysis into cryogenic gas switch know-how at SpaceX, lunar oxygen extraction at Sierra Nevada Company, and extra. 

NASA, in fact, is planning forward for the upcoming Artemis Program, which is able to see the primary girl set foot on the moon. The communication programs presently in place depend on easy radio frequency alerts. A real mobile community on the moon might present way more dependable communication over a bigger space. It might even be extra environment friendly than LTE right here on Earth as a result of there are not any obstacles (or air) to degrade the sign. 

Nokia’s Bell Labs says it would design the community in such a approach that it is going to be upgradable to 5G sooner or later. The corporate hasn’t talked about something about frequencies, however there gained’t be a variety of interference on the moon. Most of the protection and reliability points right here on Earth are resulting from obstructions and crowded wi-fi spectrum. On the moon, NASA may have its decide of mobile bands. This may even be a viable use case for millimeter-wave 5G down the street. These alerts are very quick however unreliable on Earth as a result of they degrade shortly and might’t go by way of partitions—not lots of these on the moon!


So, why not simply use current mobile tech on the moon? We will’t deploy terrestrial cell tower know-how there as a result of it’s a vastly extra harsh atmosphere. There’s no ambiance, and temperatures vary from 250 to -208 levels Fahrenheit. The degrees of radiation may even fry digital parts that aren’t hardened towards it. Nokia hopes to develop {hardware} that may tackle all these points with out taking on an excessive amount of house in cargo vessels. You’ve in all probability seen the transmitters atop towers right here on Earth. They’re not very transportable, and each ounce counts once you’re launching a rocket to the moon. 

The preliminary $14.1 million grant gained’t get us all the way in which to streaming Netflix on the moon, however it would permit the corporate to reveal its know-how. It could possibly then pursue further funding to deliver LTE to the moon.

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