Moon To Get 4G Network

If you can’t get decent 4G coverage in your area, there’s an extreme solution: two companies plan to build a network on the moon next year.

Don’t book your flight yet, though: the network isn’t designed for human use. Instead it will be used for two lunar rovers as they explore the moon.

You may remember the Mars rover Curiosity was able to send data directly to Earth. However this was only possible for a few hours a day thanks to power limitations. It was also limited to a maximum of 32,000 bits per second, a figure in the range of dial-up Internet.

The idea of the lunar rovers is not only to capture and transmit measurement and sensor data, but also high definition video, meaning a direct-to-earth transmission isn’t viable because of power demands.

Instead they’ll communicate over a 4G network built by Nokia and Vodafone to send the data to a lander craft, from which it will be relayed to Earth. The process will be so quick that ground staff will effectively be able to stream live video from the rovers.

Vodafone says the equipment used to create the 4G network will weigh less than a kilogram. The network will use 4G because it’s well-established on Earth, whereas 5G network technology is currently not tested enough to be certain it would work on the moon.

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