A new NASA study is looking at the possibility of building a lunar Wi-Fi network, the agency said. The study aims to address the problem of insufficient Internet access in parts of the United States and to help with future Artemis missions.
Mary Lobo, director of technology incubation and innovation at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, said in a press release: “This is a great opportunity to develop solutions to send astronauts to the Moon under Artemis, while also addressing a growing social problem on Earth.”
The Artemis program announced last year aims to: For the first time since 1972, let people get to the moon. It is planned to launch an unmanned mission around the Moon in 2021, followed by a crew flight around the moon in 2023 and a lunar landing in 2024.
The study, conducted by NASA Compass Lab is important because “the crew, rovers, scientific instruments and mining equipment will need reliable communication links with the lunar Artemis base camp and eventually with the Earth,” Steve Oleson, head of Compass Lab, told Insider.
NASA also reported in a press release that digital inequality and lack of access to adequate internet services is a socio-economic problem in the United States, exacerbated by the COVID-19 epidemic. According to a report by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, for example, about 31 percent of households in Cleveland do not have access to broadband.
and examine whether it is possible to use the Moon to close the terrestrial digital divide. To assess what such a network would look like on the moon, NASA’s Glenn Research Center Compass team surveyed how a terrestrial network could work in a part of Cleveland, Oleson told Insider.
Their study compared a lunar area to a Cleveland area to explore the technical challenges of local Wi-Fi. Although the equipment would be different due to the difference between the terrestrial and lunar environments, the Wi-Fi frequencies could be the same as on Earth.
According to Oleson, engineers have found that Wi-Fi routers would be attached to other utilities, they could provide Internet access to all households in a given area. download speed. “Such a service would allow users to access basic internet for school assignments, banking and shopping, and access internet information. But streaming 4K videos or playing games would not be enough,” Oleson added.
The researcher said the results of the study will be made available to NASA mission planners for future Artemis missions and possible future base camps. He added that they will also be shared with NASA technologists, who will need to adapt Wi-Fi equipment to the extreme conditions of the lunar environment (including dust and extreme temperatures).
Although still a concept for the time being. , the NASA team hopes the Wi-Fi study can ultimately help low-income communities in U.S. cities and provide them with reliable Internet access.
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