According to a recent article I read Nokia has been selected by NASA as a partner to provide comms infrastructure on the moon. Not just any old comms, but 4G/LTE to be precise. The idea is that vehicles (autonomous or not) and other parts of future lunar infrastructure should be connected wirelessly. 4G/LTE is proven technology here on Earth (I uploaded the first draft of this very post via 4G from my phone…) and apart from space-hardening the electronics & hardware for vibration/radiation I wonder if the nodes are fairly standard (almost commoditised?) functional 4G nodes or if they’re specialised in some way. There’s some reference in the articles I’ve read to it being a “data-only network”, no voice or SMS 😀 But VoLTE (“Voice over LTE”) and other messaging like iMessage/Whatsapp etc run perfectly happily over data networks…???
Recent news reports also state that ESA has signed a contract with SSTL to provide the “Lunar Pathfinder” comms relay satellite, I wonder if this will form part of the backhaul for the lunar 4G?
With all the hype that surrounded (and still surrounds) 5G I’m surprised that the moon isn’t up there (literally!) in the 5G headlines….
When will lunar 5G appear?