At long last, the moon may acquire its very own 4G network thanks to a partnerships between a few tech giants and a team of “part-time” scientists.
The proposed plan will see Vodafone, Nokia, and Audi join forces with a German group called PTScientists (previously known as Part-Time Scientists), who want to achieve the first privately funded moon landing via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket next year.
The 4G will be enabled by a Nokia-powered technology called the Ultra Compact Network, which the company says weighs less than a bag of sugar.
Once a top competitor in the $20 million Google Lunar XPrize — which ended unceremoniously without a winner in January — the PTScientists are nonetheless determined achieve the XPrize goal of landing an unmanned rover on the lunar surface in its “Mission to the Moon.”
“This is a crucial first step for sustainable exploration of the solar system,” Robert Bohme, founder and CEO of PTScientists, said in a statement. “In order for humanity to leave the cradle of Earth, we need to develop infrastructures beyond our home planet. With Mission to the Moon we will establish and test the first elements of a dedicated communications network on the moon.”
In the Mission to the Moon, Bohme and his partners hope to land two Audi lunar Quattro rovers equipped with 4G, so they can talk to each other. Cruising the lunar regolith, the rovers will track down the Apollo 17 rover and live-stream the abandoned vehicle in HD.
“This project involves a radically innovative approach to the development of mobile network infrastructure. It is also a great example of an independent, multi-skilled team achieving an objective of immense significance through their courage, pioneering spirit, and inventiveness,” Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO of Vodafone Germany, said.
That is, if the mission comes to fruition. As with all outer-space endeavors, timelines tend to be flexible.
Either way, the companies hope their efforts will help shape technology on Earth as well as space, paving the way for the technological infrastructure of our nearest space satellite.
“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,” Marcus Weldo, Nokia CTO, said.
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