Vodafone Group and Nokia will supply the first 4G network on the moon, supporting live HD broadcasts from the Lunar Surface.
It will be installed during a mission by German engineering and science company PTScientists, which – together with the operator’s German subsidiary and carmaker Audi – aim to complete the first privately funded moon landing in 2019.
Vodafone said the 4G network will allow Audi vehicles on the moon’s surface to send data and live HD video streams of footage from the area around NASA’s Apollo 17 lunar roving vehicle, which was abandoned on the surface in 1972.
The operator expects the network to be able to support 4G using the 1800 MHz frequency band, the feed will be broadcast to a global audience via a deep space link beaming back to its mission control centre in Berlin. Nokia will provide an ultra-compact network that will be the lightest ever developed – weighing less than one kilogram.
Vodafone Germany CEO, Dr Hannes Ametsreiter, said: “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.”
Robert Böhme, CEO and Founder of PTScientists, added: “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. With Mission to the Moon we will establish and test the first elements of a dedicated communications network on the Moon. 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.”