Mobile phone network on the Moon planned for 2018

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Mobile phone network on the Moon planned for 2018

The moon will get its first mobile phone network next year, enabling high-definition streaming from the lunar landscape back to earth, part of a project to back a privately funded moon mission.

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.

Next year, we’ll be teaming up with @Nokia and @PTScientists to install a 4G network on the moon and send back the first ever live HD video feed of the surface. Watch a sneak preview here: https://t.co/Zf8dGe98Ik

The mission is led by Berlin-based PTScientists and is set to launch in 2019 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Called simply Mission to the Moon, its goal is to approach and study NASA’s Apollo 17 lunar rover, which was used in 1972 by the last astronauts to walk on the moon, Commander Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt.

During the mission, Nokia Bell Labs will create a “space-grade ultra compact network” with gear weighing less than one kilogram, and Vodafone will use it to set up the 4G network to connect two Audi lunar quattro rovers to a base station, the companies said in a release.

The companies aim to achieve the first privately funded Moon landing.

They have a lot of competition, however, thanks to the Google Lunar X Prize launched in 2007, which promised $30 million US in prizes to teams that send a mission to the moon by March 31, 2018. Five companies have been awarded $5.25 million for their progress so far, and some say they plan to launch in 2018.

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