In Brief

SpaceX to help Vodafone and Nokia install first 4G signal on the Moon

Autonomous rovers will stream HD video from lunar surface back to Earth

Vodafone and Nokia have teamed up to install a 4G mobile network on the Moon, with the aim of streaming live footage from the lunar surface.

The telecoms companies will collaborate with the German space exploration firm PTScientists on what will be the first privately funded mission to the Moon’s surface, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Elon Musk’s aerospace firm SpaceX will launch Nokia masts aboard one of its Falcon 9 rockets from Cape Canaveral in Florida next year. 

The rocket will also carry a pair of lunar rovers built by Audi, which will “communicate with each other and with a base station” using Vodafone’s 4G network, adds the newspaper. 

Audi’s autonomous rovers will drive around the Moon’s surface, recording HD video and transmitting back to Earth through the lunar base station, TechRadar reports.

According to the website, scientists also plan to use the vehicles to hunt down and study the lunar rover left behind by the Apollo 17 crew in 1972.

The network will not only bolster scientific research but also lay the groundwork for communications systems that can be used on future lunar missions. 

Kate Arkless Gray, from PTScientists, told the BBC that the energy-efficient 4G network will help streamline the process of gathering data and could lead to new technologies that may one day be used in consumer devices.

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