Nokia's lunar LTE network will allow astronauts to make calls, stream data and remote control robots.
Richard TrenholmFormer Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
It's one small step for
, one giant leap for phonekind. NASA and
are planning the first cellular network on the moon.
Finnish phone company Nokia has announced it's working with the US space administration to build a
network for moonwalkers by late 2022. As well as voice communication and data transmission, the mobile network could power navigation, stream biometric data so controllers can keep an eye on each astronaut's health and fitness, and direct remote-control
and sensors on the lunar surface.
It's a part of NASA's Artemis program, intended to establish a sustainable base on the lunar surface by 2028. Several companies have been contracted by NASA in deals adding up to more than $370 million.
Nokia is best known for making a number of much-loved early cellphones (and Snake, the game loaded on those phones), but it's also big in back-end communications equipment, from cell towers to satellites. Largely using off-the-shelf, commercially available tech such as lightweight 4G base stations, Nokia promises the lunar network will be "ultra-compact, low-power, space-hardened, end-to-end LTE." It will also be upgraded to 5G over time. Exciting news for moonwalkers; possibly a bit annoying for anyone who can't get a signal right here on Earth.