According to plans set out by a partnership between Berlin-based space exploration company PTScientists, Vodafone Germany, Finish network equipment maker Nokia and carmaker Audi, a 2.2 pounds device – the lightest ever developed – known as the Ultra Compact Network will provide the Moon with its first ever 4G LTE communications network.
Vodafone said it had appointed Nokia as its technology partner to develop the space-grade system. The idea is that by delivering two Audi-made lunar Quattro rovers to the Moon, and connect them to a base station in the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module (ALINA), the 4G network as highly energy efficient than analog radio, and as a system that allows a larger amount of data to be transferred between the rovers and the ALINA station, would enable high-def (HD) streaming from the lunar landscape back to earth.
The network (which Vodafone announced Tuesday/Feb. 27), will also allow PT-scientists to remotely control the rovers, and enable the vehicles to communicate and transfer data with each other. Furthermore, the rovers are expected to also record HD video as they check out NASA’s Apollo 17 lunar roving vehicle that carted astronauts around the moon in 1972.
“This is a crucial first step for sustainable exploration of the solar system. In order for humanity to leave the cradle of earth, we need to develop infrastructures beyond our home planet,” PTScientists CEO Robert Böhme said in a statement.
Vodafone hopes the network will be able to broadcast on the 1800 MHz frequency band to deliver the universe’s first HD livestream direct from the moon.
PTScientists’ mission is scheduled to launch next year from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The launch of the first ever privately-funded Moon landing comes 50 years after the first NASA astronauts walked on the Moon’s surface.