CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Men have walked but soon will talk on the moon. NASA will fund a $14.1 million-dollar project by Nokia to build a 4G cellular communication network on the moon, the space agency announced.
The cellular company will launch a 4G/LTE network before eventually upgrading the system to the latest technology of 5G, according to its innovation arm Bell Labs.
The project was part of $370 million in new contracts for lunar surface research missions NASA announced Wednesday. Most of the money went to large space companies like SpaceX and United Launch Alliance to perfect techniques to make and handle rocket propellant in space.
The company said cellular data capabilities on the moon will aid with better controlling lunar rovers, real-time navigation over lunar geography, and streaming high-definition video.
“The mission-critical LTE network we have developed has been specially designed to withstand the extreme temperature, radiation and vacuum conditions of space, as well as the sizable vibrational impact during launch and landing on the lunar surface,” the company said.
NASA also awarded funds to 13 other projects. The contracts are geared toward NASA’s Tipping Point program, which funds technologies that, if demonstrated successfully, are likely to be adopted by private industry.