NASA’s project is the culmination of its Artemis program to return humans to the moon. The current schedule requested by President Donald Trump is for the first manned mission on our satellite in 2024.
To make this return to the moon as successful as possible in less than four years, NASA’s minds are working hard to get everything right. Today we learned that the US space agency has allocated nearly $ 15 million to Finnish telecommunications company Nokia. Why ? Just put 4G on the moon.
While it may be difficult to understand how such a sum can be spent on this mission, which at first glance seems more than useless, it is good to ask the question: Why does NASA want 4G on the moon? ?
4G: mandatory for going back to the moon
When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in 1969, all of the information that Apollo 11 carried to Earth was transmitted over radio waves – including the video of Neil Armstrong getting off the rocket – this expensive system. , unreliable, obviously not used during the Artemis mission.
So the solution is to set up a 4G network on our satellite. Nokia must achieve this in 4 years. The Finnish company must succeed in adapting the network currently on earth so that it works in a completely different, much more diffuse atmosphere in which the force of gravity is different.
Thus an implementation of 4G will enable ” reliable and fast communication ” assures Jim Reuter, NASA senior director responsible for the implementation of space technologies. The establishment of this network also shows NASA’s desire to establish a true permanent and inhabited lunar base, like the ISS is today.
Since astronauts live on our satellite 350,000 kilometers away every day, the question of connectivity arises much more than with a single mission like the end of the Artemis project.
In fact, it is likely that the 4G that will hit the moon in a few years’ time will work better than what we currently know on earth. No signal causes interference, no natural or unnatural discharge interrupts the signal, which should be of excellent quality.
Why 4G and not 5G?
If the question of connectivity on the moon is so important to NASA, why didn’t the American agency Nokia ask to adapt their 5G antennas to the lunar atmosphere? The river would only be better. In reality, the question appears to have already arisen and to have been decided within the agency for several months.
4G would have several technical advantages, including broadcast coverage. A 4G antenna can travel a maximum of thirty kilometers, more than enough for the rovers to stay connected around the mission. For comparison: a 5G antenna only covers a few hundred meters.
In addition, it seems more complicated to adapt 5G antennas to the lunar atmosphere. They have not yet been used on a large scale on Earth and so can still pose technical problems. 4G is very well understood and used worldwide.