Former mobile phone giant and now equipment maker Nokia has recently announced its expansion into the new world by scoring themselves a deal to install the first cellular network on the moon.
The Finnish equipment manufacturer was selected by NASA to implement an “ultra-compact, low-power, space-hardened” wireless 4G network on the surface of the moon as part of plans to establish a long-term presence on the moon by 2030.
The contract that is worth US$14.1 million that is awarded to Nokia’s US subsidiary is part of NASA’s Artemis programme which aims to put the first woman and next man to the moon by 2024.
Further experiments and explorations will also be carried out that will hopefully help with developing the first human mission to Mars.
Nokia said that the network equipment will be installed using a lunar hopper built by Intuitive Machines in late 2022.
“The network will self-configure upon deployment,” the firm said in a statement, adding that the wireless technology will allow for “vital command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming of high definition video.”
The 4G equipment can also be updated to 5G in the future if needed, Nokia said.
NASA announced last week that it would distribute $370 million to 14 companies to supply “Tipping Point” technology for its mission, which includes robotics and new methods of harvesting essential resources such as oxygen and energy resources that are required for living on the moon.
According to NASA, a partial of the funding went to companies researching cryogenic propellants, freezing liquids used to fuel spacecraft.
Among them, Elon Musk’s SpaceX received US$53.2 million for their demonstration of transferring ten metrics tons of liquid oxygen between tanks on a starship vehicle.