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NASA gave Nokia 14.1 million dollars to build a 4G network on the Moon

This network would help astronauts control lunar rovers, navigate Selenite geography in real time, and stream videos.

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This article was translated from our Spanish edition.
This story originally appeared on Business Insider

Telecommunications equipment provider Nokia will use a $ 14.1 million grant to build the Moon's first wireless network as part of NASA's plans to establish a human presence there.

Westend61/Getty Images vía BI

NASA is pouring the money into Nokia-owned American research company Bell Labs, which will build the 4G-LTE network, it said Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Enhanced data transmission will help astronauts control lunar vehicles, navigate lunar geography in real time, and stream video.

Ultimately, the mission will help demonstrate whether it is possible to have "human habitation on the moon, " Bell Labs said .

The initial 4G network will be upgraded to 5G in the future, he said. He's working with spaceflight engineering company Intuitive Machines on the project.

The network will adapt to the moon's unique climate and can withstand extreme temperatures, radiation, and even landings and rocket launches, which make the moon's surface vibrate.

The moon's 4G network will also use cells significantly smaller than Earth's, Bell Labs said. These will have a shorter range, but require less power and are easier to transport.

Neither NASA nor the Bell Labs gave a timeline for the project.

NASA invested 370 million dollars in projects to support life on the Moon

The investment is part of NASA's "Tipping Point" scheme, which funds lunar technology developments for its "Artemis" program. The investments will help NASA meet its goals of sending the first woman and next man to the moon in 2024, have a lunar base on the moon by 2028, and establish a sustainable presence there by 2030.

In the fifth and highest round of "Tipping Point" funding to date, NASA donated more than $ 370 million to 14 US companies in nine states.

Companies must contribute part of the total cost of the project, NASA said . The combination of NASA resources with industry contributions "drives the development of critical space technologies while saving the agency and US taxpayers money."

NASA invested $ 106 million in what it calls a "lunar surface innovation initiative technology," which helps humans and robots explore the moon further. These include a fast wireless charging system, a chemical heat and an electrical power source that can survive extreme temperatures and Nokia's 4G network.

NASA also invested about $ 256 million in cryogenic fluid handling technology - liquefied gases kept at very low temperatures. These are essential to establish a sustainable presence on the moon and enable manned missions to Mars, NASA said.

This included a $ 53 million investment in Tesla CEO Elon Musk's SpaceX venture.

"Together, NASA and industry are developing a series of mission-ready capabilities to support a sustainable presence on the Moon and future human missions to Mars," said Jim Bridenstine, administrator of the space agency.