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Vodafone, Nokia, and Audi team up to install a mobile phone network on the Moon

By William Gayde ยท 9 replies
Feb 28, 2018
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  1. While engineers on Earth are busy developing next-generation 5G networks, others are looking at new places to implement existing 4G technologies. Through a partnership between Vodafone, Nokia, and Audi, the Moon is scheduled to get its very own mobile phone network sometime next year.

    Vodafone will be designing the lunar network and will make use of equipment designed by Nokia Bell Labs. This connectivity will allow two Audi Lunar Quattro rovers to communicate wirelessly with a base station at the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module. Using existing satellites, mission organizer Part Time Scientists will also be able to live stream scientific data and HD video content from the Moon to viewers on Earth.

    The networking equipment will be launched into space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and has been designed to be incredibly small. Nokia believes their network equipment will weigh less than one kilogram.

    Although development of 5G networks is making progress, they won't be ready in time for the 2019 launch and won't be robust enough for the harsh environment of space. While much faster than 4G networks, their range is considerably shorter and that's not good in space. This is because 5G networks use a much higher frequency than 4G networks and this results in higher pathloss. Considering there isn't much competition for spectrum on the Moon, they could probably use whatever frequency they wanted though.

    Traditional analog communications like the ones used for the Apollo missions are much larger and require far more energy that modern digital communications. This makes 4G the perfect technology for this scenario.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2018
  2. Scshadow

    Scshadow TS Evangelist Posts: 539   +175

    The moon will get good internet before we do was just a joke told by rural people. They weren't supposed to make it actually happen.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,796   +4,604

    @Scshadow, wish I could give you a heart instead of that like.
    Burty117 likes this.
  4. Dimitrios

    Dimitrios TS Maniac Posts: 231   +140

    They will use the guy from the old commercials, " CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?" weeks/months later they will forget him and he will be floating around dead with the phone frozen to his helmet while on the moon.
  5. MarkHughes

    MarkHughes TS Addict Posts: 163   +83

    Live streaming from a moon rover... I am very much looking forward to that :)
  6. GreyFoxx

    GreyFoxx TS Booster Posts: 85   +61

    Meanwhile my broadband download is 1.9MB/s max :-/
    erickmendes likes this.
  7. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,101   +1,135

    Man.... and I thought it wasn't cost-effective to give high-speed internet to people living in the far north like Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, etc... Now the hordes of people living on the moon can have better internet than them... wonder how much they intend to charge?
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,796   +4,604

    This is what I want to know. What are the moon rovers going to use as currency? That is since it is illegal to barter moon stones. Maybe they will start mining for that non existent bit-coin on the moon.
  9. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 693   +344

    I wonder will the 2 rovers start chatting over WhatsApp. Maybe set up a forum. They'll be pretty lonely with only 1 friend on Facebook. Even their Instagram accounts will get boring quick "Here's me with some moon rock"
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  10. Godel

    Godel TS Addict Posts: 131   +62

    The robustness issue and lack of completed standards are good enough reasons not to use 5G, but is "higher path loss" really an issue in line of sight communications in vacuum?

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