‘How’s the signal up there?’: Nokia to bring 4G to the moon

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By Luke Hurst  with AP
NASA wants to establish a long-term human presence on the moon
NASA wants to establish a long-term human presence on the moon   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Michael Probst

Nokia says it will build a 4G communications system for the moon, as part of NASA’s plan to establish a long-term human presence there.

The mobile phone manufacturer said on Monday its Nokia Bell Labs division will build the cellular network, which will be deployed on a lunar lander in late 2022.

The network will provide communications capabilities for astronauts, allowing for activities such as remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and high-definition streaming.

The Finnish company will get $14.1 million (€11.9 million) from NASA to develop the system.

It is just one piece is crucial technology NASA wants developed for its Artemis moon-landing program, with the space agency awarding $370 million to 14 companies.

Other areas in development are innovations in cryogenic fluid management, lunar surface innovation, and descent and landing capability.

The equipment Nokia will build includes a base station, antennas and software and is designed to withstand harsh launches and lunar landings and extreme conditions in space.

Nokia is partnering with US company Intuitive Machines, which NASA chose to build a small “hopper lander" that can access lunar craters and carry out high-resolution surveys of the lunar surface over a short distance.

“Reliable, resilient and high-capacity communications networks will be key to supporting sustainable human presence on the lunar surface,” Nokia's chief technology officer, Marcus Weldon, said.