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Moon Communications Network

Nokia, Vodafone To Bring 4G To the Moon (reuters.com) 80

According to Reuters, the moon will get its first mobile phone network next year, enabling high-definition streaming from the landscape back to earth. "Vodafone Germany, network equipment maker Nokia and carmaker Audi said on Tuesday they were working together to support the mission, 50 years after the first NASA astronauts walked on the moon." From the report: Vodafone said it had appointed Nokia as its technology partner to develop a space-grade network which would be a small piece of hardware weighing less than a bag of sugar. The companies are working with Berlin-based company PTScientists on the project, with a launch scheduled in 2019 from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Vodafone said. One executive involved said the decision to build a 4G network rather than a state-of-the-art 5G network was taken because the next generation networks remain in the testing and trial stage and are not stable enough to ensure they would work from the lunar surface.
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Nokia, Vodafone To Bring 4G To the Moon

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  • by Skuld-Chan ( 302449 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @09:08PM (#56197829)

    But the moon gets a new cell tower?

    • Donâ(TM)t worry - roaming charges are going to be a bitch
      • My phone plan includes $5 per day unlimited roaming wherever there is a Vodaphone network, so I'm set :-)
    • But the moon gets a new cell tower?

      Damn your cell phone reception luck, but it seems likely on the order of the President tweeting something embarrassing that your cost of living, cable TV options, and internet speed are superior to the average lunar resident, now, and for the foreseeable future.

    • But the moon gets a new cell tower?

      You do probably have free (no extra charge) calling at home over WIFI though. check your plan/phone.

      They used to give away pretty nice routers for free to people with issues at their homes. Don't know if they still do.

    • weighing less than a bag of sugar

      And a new unit of measurement...

      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        Thank you. It would have been more useful to say, "weighing less than a 5 lb bag of sugar" or "a 20 lb bag of sugar", but then why do we need the sugar? Google's top hits tell me that a bag of sugar "weighs" 1 kg, but I don't think that's common for bags of sugar sold in the US or on the moon. Is the moon on metric?

    • If you move out of the basement your reception will improve. And not just your cell reception.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @09:20PM (#56197877)

    Love these new units. They leave no room for ambiguity [pla.co.uk].

  • walks on the moon and talks of God.
    Germany puts it brands on the moon and talks of the optics of branding.
    • That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. That is probably the greatest quote ever made.
  • I guess Verizon won't have the most coverage any more.
  • At last... (Score:5, Funny)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @09:25PM (#56197901)

    ET can finally phone home.

  • Here I am living 5 miles from Vodafone's global headquarters and I can't get any reception from them, but oh.. the moon gets 4G .. great.. thanks!

  • It’s hard to believe this isn’t an Onion link.

    Why do this?

    • Why do this?

      Probably the same reason we have an electric sports car on a collision course with Mars.

      • by green1 ( 322787 )

        Don't worry they missed when aiming the sports car at Mars, it's headed for the asteroid belt instead.

        That said, "why" is a valid question, and one which seems somewhat lacking in the talk here.

        I'm assuming it's just some sort of PR stunt, but is there some practical reason I'm overlooking?

        • They weren't aiming at Mars; they would have never gotten authorisation to actually launch a car at a planet which it could potentially contaminate. The planned orbit was always going to avoid Mars. However they DID overshoot their target aphelion so the roadster will end up going further out into the solar system than intended.

          • by green1 ( 322787 )

            A little pedantic I see. "at" was not intended to mean a crash course. It was meant to indicate it would visit Mars proximity, something it will no longer do because they missed.

            • A little pedantic I see. "at" was not intended to mean a crash course. It was meant to indicate it would visit Mars proximity, something it will no longer do because they missed.

              I'm not psychic, so I can't possibly know what you intended to indicate. If someone says "I'm being shot at" I assume he means that an assailant is intending to hit him with a bullet. I don't assume that he means some random individual is firing a bullet towards his general vicinity, but intending to miss.

    • Scratch past the PR stunt, name droping, etc.

      Eventually, as more missions on the moon happens, you'll have more data to send from the probes on the moon back to earth.
      It doesn't make sense economically to build every single last device with a high gain radio equipment able to beam it's own data directly to earth.

      You'll eventually need an infrastructure of (relatively) high speed, high bandwidth local network (to communicate between the various probes/robots/landers/base station), and relays that uplink them

      • - Completely re-invent something from the ground up for the specific need of the mission ?

        (which actually is a valid strategy : that's the current situation on Mars with probe using sattelite relays)

        Well, sort of. They've known they have data issues and have been working on solutions since around 2005 (to my memory ; quite likely earlier). For several years NASA (possibly via JPL, CalTech or somesuch intermediary) were funding Vint Cerf to work up proposals [wikipedia.org] for modifying the packet switching techniques us

  • by braindrainbahrain ( 874202 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @10:18PM (#56198065)
    This looks like a ploy to generate investment money for PTScientists, a company that claims to have developed a spacecraft capable of delivering two rovers, or up to 100 kg of payload, to the lunar surface [ptscientists.com]. No mention of a rocket, rocket tests or any aerospace industry activity at all, except for designing two rovers, probably in their basement.
    • It isn't fake. They even have another website http://mission-to-the-moon.com... [mission-to-the-moon.com]. Plus they have a newsletter you can sign up for and everything.
  • A 5lb bag, a 10lb bag, or a 25lb bag?

    (A 2K bag, a 4K bag, or 10K bag for most of the world.)

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      Leaves them some wiggle room. When it inevitably comes out much larger than expected, they only need to manufacture a bag of sugar that's slightly larger and they'll be completely accurate in their description.

      Back to reality. Who comes up with these ridiculous measurements???? I have 2 completely different size bags of sugar in my kitchen right now, my parents always buy a 3rd size that's 4 times the size of the larger of the 2 I have right now, and I bet most bakeries get even larger bags. I've mocked thi

      • by Megane ( 129182 )
        And they say it weighs less than a bag of sugar, but where is the bag of sugar? Will it weigh less on the Moon than a bag of sugar weighs on Earth?
        • Will it weigh less on the Moon than a bag of sugar weighs on Earth?

          1 kg of sugar will weigh 167 g on the Moon, but the same will happen with the weigh of a "small piece of hardware".

    • by bug1 ( 96678 )

      How do i convert bags of sugar to tomatoes, how much does it weigh in tomatoes ?

      I can see an opportunity for someone to whip up a quick webpage to convert between the weight of all sorts of grocery types...

    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      (A 2K bag, a 4K bag, or 10K bag for most of the world.)

      Most of the world buys sugar in 1kg bags. Only American households buy 25lb sacks from Costco, along with the 44 gallon drum of HFCS.

  • - Who you gonna call?

    That's the question.

    • - Who you gonna call?

      Not only that but assuming the call goes through then who isn't going to hang up once the call goes through and there's 10 seconds of silence because of the round trip delay from the distance.

      I'll listen to phone interviews on podcasts and getting people to have a conversation with even the minimal delay from a coast to coast call can be frustrating. There's a reason the astronauts that went to the moon had those end of transmission beeps, keep saying "over", and so on. This is a verbal protocol to deal w

    • - Who you gonna call?

      The Chinese and the Indians who will soon be there exploring the Moon.

      Oh, Russian hackers will be there, as well . . . fixing the election for the nude Moon folks:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • Every time a cryptocoin goes to the moon, I always miss out. What is this 4G coin, anyway?

  • I am reminded of a scene from WALL-E, as the ship he's holding onto flies past the moon, an electronic billboard light up, advertising the imminent arrival of a shopping mall, or something of that nature.

    We haven't been to the moon in decades, and now these guys wanna stick a bunch of commercial cell data relay stations up there? What's the matter, simple radio isn't good enough for the moon, but it's good enough for a satellite that's somewhere out past Pluto?

  • Does that mean ping times are less than a second?

  • There has got to be a joke in there somewhere. Or up there, or wherever...
  • OK, this is merely a publicity stunt. But if Musk is planning to populate Mars, we need to start thinking about this sort of thing.
  • ...I expected that they were going to launch a Nokia smartphone in the space, just like Musk did with his car.
  • "a space-grade network which would be a small piece of hardware weighing less than a bag of sugar."

    It's for incisive technological analysis such as the about that I come to slashdot.
  • ...Samsung announced that it will enter in partnership with Nokia and Vodafone to bring 4G connectivity to the Moon. Samsung will develop a new fuel and ignition system for space rockets, thanks to the experience gained with the Samsung Galaxy project.

  • Finally, what took them so long?!
    No wonder we humans haven't gone back to the moon yet...

  • The lack of coverage was a real deal-breaker. Now I can go without missing out on my daily /.
  • Would make for some good commercials.

    Hate to see the roaming charges tho... :O

    • by twosat ( 1414337 )

      I can see what competitors to Vodafone will be saying in their ads "Our network is faster, more responsive, NO LUNAR RELAY LAG!"

  • to develop a space-grade network which would be a small piece of hardware weighing less than a bag of sugar.

    Sounds like someone is using a Cubesat [wikipedia.org] module.

    CubeSats have a mass of no more than 1.33 kilograms per unit,

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