Cell service could soon be out of this world.
NASA has awarded Nokia a $14.1 million-dollar contract to bring astronauts the first cellular network on the moon, the space agency announced.
The cellular company will launch a 4G/LTE network before eventually upgrading the system to the latest technology of 5G, according to its innovation arm Bell Labs.
Cellular data capabilities on the moon will help with better controlling lunar rovers, real-time navigation over lunar geography, as well as streaming high-definition video, the company said.
“This mission will validate the future of other operational deployments and the potential for human habitation on the moon,” Bell Labs said.
But bringing cell service to new heights has been no small undertaking.
“The mission-critical LTE network we have developed has been specially designed to withstand the extreme temperature, radiation and vacuum conditions of space, as well as the sizable vibrational impact during launch and landing on the lunar surface,” the company said.
NASA’s grant was part of $370 million worth of contracts signed under the agency’s “Tipping Point” program, which aims to support research for a range of technologies to improve space exploration.
“We are excited to see our investments and collaborative partnerships bring about new technologies for the Moon and beyond while also benefiting the commercial sector,” said Jim Reuter, who is NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space Technology.