If you’re unable to get a cell phone signal when you walk your dog around the block, this will really make your blood boil: NASA is putting a 4G network on the moon.
To reach its 2028 goal to build a lunar base and eventually sustain a human presence on the moon, NASA awarded $370 million to over a dozen companies to deploy technology on the lunar surface. Those innovations include remote power generation, cryogenic freezing, robotics, safer landing … and 4G. Because how else will astronauts tweet their moon golf shots and lunar rover selfies?
NASA says 4G could provide more reliable, longer-distance communication than the current radio standards in place on the moon. Like on Earth, the 4G network will eventually be upgraded to 5G.
Nokia’s (NOK) Bell Labs was granted $14.1 million for the project. Bell Labs, formerly operated by AT&T, will partner with spaceflight engineering company Intuitive Machines to build out the 4G-LTE network.
John Oliver jokes about CNN parent company AT&T (T) aside, 4G will probably work better on the moon than it does here — it won’t have any trees, buildings or TV signals to interfere with the 4G signal. The moon’s cellular network will also be specially designed to withstand the particularities of the lunar surface: extreme temperature, radiation and space’s vacuum. It will also stay functional during lunar landings and launches, even though rockets significantly vibrate the moon’s surface.