A cellular communications network on the moon between Nokia and NASA

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“Artemis” program (Artemis aims) of the ambitious US space agency “NASA” to send humans to the moon by 2024, but do these travelers will be able to send their messages, and they are on the surface of the moon?

Satellite communication networks
According to NASA’s report on the 14th of last month, the agency agreed worth $ 14.1 million with the famous telecommunications company Nokia to build a cellular network on the moon’s surface.

Assistant Executive Director of the tasks of technology at NASA’s Jim Reuter and illustrates the importance of this agreement in a press article published by the “Popular Science Magazine” ( . Popular Science ), saying that “will support 4G communication technology between human beings on the ground on the one hand and the astronauts and vehicles landing on the other hand, Which may give us a future opportunity in the active and continuous presence on the moon, or orbiting around it. ”

For “Nokia” to complete this task, the lunar communication network that is designing it must be close to the ground to be linked to the terrestrial Internet.

In parallel, there are many attempts to investigate the possibility of providing space with the Internet and connecting it to the Earth. For example, Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, hopes to connect to Mars through the “Starlink” constellation, which will be formed within several satellites.

But even if these efforts succeed, the satellite Internet will transmit messages differently than the terrestrial Internet does today.

Will we be able to contact the moon soon?
The vastness of space is one of the obstacles to connecting space to the Internet; A message that arrives in a fraction of a second from New York to Tokyo can take more than a second to reach the moon, even if we use lasers that travel at the fastest speed known to nature.

Also, sending a message from Earth to Jupiter takes from 3 to 20 minutes, in addition to the difficulty of connecting the terrestrial Internet to spacecraft that move at tremendous speed, which sometimes passes behind space objects or behind the sun, which makes linking them with Earth a great technical challenge.

Independent ranges
However, the matter was not as difficult in the face of the modern Internet pioneer and technical expert Vint Cerf; A visiting scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory realized some strict physical limitations such as the speed of light divide space into independent bands.

These independent bands enable creating a local communications network for any point in space such as Earth or Mars; then, each local network can be interconnected with the existing interplanetary Internet networks to form networks of the local Internet.

This means that space travelers will never be able to make a real-time call in which they hear their speakers’ responses as soon as they finish speaking, and the establishment of such interconnected networks will not be easy.

Scientists are currently seeking to divide the distances between these bands by placing devices that act as nodes between these points. Instead of the signal being sent from one band to another far, which is likely to be lost in the vast space due to the Internet’s weakness, these signals will be sent from one interconnection node to another.

Hence, if one of these nodes goes out of contact, another intermediate node will store it until the connection reverts to the original node.

Advocates of this new approach hope to connect the Internet to space and that they will see many spacecraft carrying devices that will become smart nodes linking vast areas of space.

NASA first tested this idea in 2008, and the International Space Station acted as a permanent central node to receive some images from Antarctica in 2017.

Here comes the role of the “Nokia” company, which will connect a local network on the surface of the moon, and the company’s representatives believe that contacting the Earth from the moon will not require a fictional connection contract, but of course it will differ from the local communication networks that the company will provide.

Source : Aljazeera