In BriefFour companies will partner to send a small device to the Moon that will establish a 4G wireless network there. They'll launch the device via a SpaceX rocket in 2019.
Your smartphone might not connect when you’re on the subway, or in rural areas, or in another country.
But if you’re an astronaut, well, your phone will soon work on the Moon.
Telecommunications companies Vodafone Germany and Nokia, along with German car company Audi and Germany-based scientists and engineers of PTScientists, will partner to create a device that will offer astronauts 4G internet, the group announced Tuesday. This device will only weigh about 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds).
The speeds at which astronauts can surf the web might not be as fast as they could via wi-fi (or as fast as they could on Earth), but the Moon’s mobile network will allow them to stay connected over greater distances. It will allow two rovers already on the Moon to communicate directly with Earth during a jaunt on the lunar surface, Live Science reports.
The group plans to launch the device to the Moon in 2019 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
“This project involves a radically innovative approach to the development of mobile network infrastructure,” Vodafone Germany Chief Executive Hannes Ametsreiter said in a statement.
This isn’t the first time the internet has come to the Moon, however – in 2014, MIT engineers brought high-speed internet to the Moon, connected to Earth via laser.