Will people be able to text, call, FaceTime, or tweet from the moon?

NASA’s Artemis program plans to create a sustainable human presence on the moon by 2028. Building a mobile network on the moon’s surface is a critical piece of this plan.

NASA recently granted the telecommunications company Nokia more than $14 million to build the lunar network. This network will enhance peer-to-peer astronaut communications in outer space and it will also enhance communications between astronauts and scientists on earth. While we may be focusing on the leap to 5G here on terra-firma, 4G is being readied to go interstellar.

 However, creating this network is no small feat.

Nokia’s US-based industrial research arm, Bell Labs, will be equipping NASA with the tools to fully build the lunar mobile network. Engineers will have to create a durable system that can handle the trip to space and that can survive the conditions of the harsh lunar landscape.

Nokia aims to have the 4G network operable as soon as 2022, in plenty of time for NASA’s Artemis program to launch the first group of astronauts, towards 2024. Upgrading the future 4G lunar network to more sophisticated 5G networks is in long-term plans, but no firm date for the initiative has been established.

To read more about NASA’s development of a 4G mobile network on the moon, see this article from CNBC.