Vodafone may be struggling to provide reliable 4G coverage throughout the UK, but that isn’t stopping the firm’s German arm plotting the first lunar network.
Vodafone Germany is teaming up with Nokia’s networking division to back the first privately funded mission to the moon and set up a high-speed data link to earth.
The PTScientists company in Germany wants to land equipment on the surface of the moon in 2019 and is entrusting the Vodafone and Nokia to set up a 4G network.
The physical network would weigh less than a bag of sugar and would be used to send live video back to Earth.
The 4G lunar network would also be used to remotely control two rovers built by automaker Audi. The plan is to visit the Apollo 17 landing site, which was the last time humans ventured onto the surface.
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Nokia’s CTO Marcus Weldon said (via FT): “Whether it is meteor mining or lunar landing or Mars, we have to learn how to communicate in space.” He said the equipment would also be required to work in extreme conditions.
Meanwhile, Vodafone Germany CEO Dr Hannes Ametsreiter said the project will require a “radically innovative approach to the development of mobile network infrastructure.”
Hitchin’ a ride
PT Scientists has already booked itself a sport upon a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which is scheduled to take off from Cape Canaveral, FL, sometime next year. It is sharing the cost with other companies.
“The great thing about this LTE solution is that it saves so much power, and the less energy we use sending data, the more we have to do science”, said Robert Böhme, PTScientists’ CEO.
“In order for humanity to leave the cradle of Earth, we need to develop infrastructures beyond our home planet”, he added.
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