German new-space firm PTScientists has been planning a mission to the Moon for many years now. It has partnered with Audi to produce and deliver two XPrize-winning quattro rovers to the Moon that will explore both the lunar surface and carefully return to the Apollo 17 landing site in 2019. Now the team has partnered with Vodafone and Nokia to create a Moon-based communications network using 4G LTE to bring high-def video of the moon to those of us here on Earth.
Vodafone’s base station will communicate with the rovers as they gather images and video of the various lunar sights. The 4G network will use the 1800 MHz frequency band to send HD video to the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module (ALINA), which will then connect to PTScientists in Berlin. Nokia is making space-grade networking gear that will weigh less than one kilogram in total.
4G is more energy efficient than analog radio, and will allow a larger amount of data to be transferred between the rovers and the ALINA station. “We are very pleased to have been selected by Vodafone to be their technology partner,” said Nokia’s Marcus Weldon. “This important mission is supporting, among other things, the development of new space-grade technologies for future data networking, processing and storage, and will help advance the communications infrastructure required for academics, industry and educational institutions in conducting lunar research.
These aims have potentially wide-ranging implications for many stakeholders and humanity as a whole, and we look forward to working closely with Vodafone and the other partners in the coming months, prior to the launch in 2019.”