by Erin Elizabeth, Health Nut News:
NASA announced Wednesday it will finance a project by Nokia to build a 4G cellular communication network on the moon with $14.1 million.
NASA added that the project was part of $370 million in new contracts for lunar surface research missions. Most of the money went to large space companies like SpaceX and United Launch Alliance to perfect techniques to make and handle rocket propellant in space.
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In a live broadcast, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said that if the space agency wants to realize its goal to have astronauts working at a lunar base by 2028, it must promptly develop new technologies for living and working on the moon, adding:
“We need power systems that can last a long time on the surface of the moon, and we need habitation capability on the surface.”
“The system could support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds and provide more reliability than current standards.”
Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said having cellular service on the moon could support communication between lunar landers, rovers, habitats, and astronauts. He added:
“The system would also extend to spacecraft. With NASA funding, Nokia will look at how terrestrial technology could be modified for the lunar environment to support reliable, high-rate communications.”
NASA hasn’t decided on a landing site for the agency’s Artemis missions, but Bridenstine reiterated Wednesday that the target is a site near water-ice deposits on the lunar South Pole. He stated:
“We want to build the [lunar] infrastructure…that is going to enable an international partnership for the biggest, broadest, most diverse inclusive coalition of researchers and explorers in the history of humankind.”
Other technologies funded Wednesday include demonstrations of lunar surface power generation and energy storage.