The Future of Space Communication- Mobile Networks In Space And The Race To Other Planets

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Communication is one of the most important aspects of space travel, since wherever humans and machines go in space, they need to be able to reach one another.

Furthermore, connectivity and communications are critical for any future sustained human presence on other planets. Astronauts in current and future missions need access to voice, video and data communications capabilities, telemetry, and biometric data, access sensor grids, deploy scientific payloads, and remotely operate robots and other machinery. All of these scenarios and applications require strong mobile network connectivity.

Thierry Klein, President of Bell Labs Solutions Research at Nokia states: “We want to prove that mobile networks in space can provide the reliable, high-capacity, and efficient connectivity needed for future crewed and uncrewed missions to the Moon and other planets. Connectivity and communications are critical in space, so we’re working with partners to share knowledge and expertise in areas that can unlock new value for those leading the charge on all things space exploration.”

According to Innovation News Network, one of the partners is NASA, which is running its Tipping Point Initiative to develop mobile networks in space to support future missions. As part of this initiative, the first cellular network on the Moon (mission IM-2) will be deployed to demonstrate that cellular technologies can provide critical communications for future lunar or Martian missions.

Despite being the first of its kind, IM-2 is not the first to try to apply telecommunication into space, with traditional communication satellites being in orbit for over 50 years, but it is the first to support the needs of future communities not on Earth, but on other planets.

The data collected on IM-2 will provide a wealth of knowledge about a key area of the Moon, while also providing critical insights for advancing communications technologies.

NASA is advancing the development of critical space technologies, making communications and mobile networks a vital element in any future lunar or Martian colony. With mobile networks in space, astronauts could connect any personal devices (tablets, laptops, etc.), and may one day even take their smartphones to space and use them in space like they would on Earth.