The Moon's Getting a 4G Mobile Network Next Year

By Kim Snaith on at

There are a lot of places in the UK that don't yet have a reliable 4G mobile signal. Hell, I live not far from a major city and yet in my local suburb  I struggle to get more than one bar on my phone. That doesn't matter, though. Forget about us Earthlings, because Vodafone and Nokia are teaming up to set up a 4G mobile network on the Moon. Yes, on the Moon.

Fear not, though — it's not in preparation for future moon colonists to settle down and still remain connected with with their Earth-bound friends and family. It's so footage captured by lunar rovers can be easily sent back to Earth.

The lunar 4G network, scheduled to launch in 2019, will allow two rovers stream high definition video and images directly back to Earth via a base station. Speaking to the BBC, scientific media strategic Kate Arkless Gray explained, "We're collecting lots of scientific data, lots of HD video and photographs, and the problem is we can't sent them directly from the rover to Earth because it takes too much power. So using the 4G network on the Moon... we can actually steam the HD video live."

 

That's pretty cool, I suppose. And if you're salty about Moon-aliens having 4G coverage before you do, remember that a lot of everyday technology we now take for granted came from advances in space travel — the sensor in your mobile phone camera, for example. So the moon might get a better reception than your home on Earth, but it might lead to an even better mobile network later on. Or we can keep telling ourselves that, at least. [BBC]